Overseas travel in Setember less than half of pre-pandemic

Numbers departing Ireland also down when compared with August, CSO data shows

Overseas travel in September remained less than half that of pre-pandemic September, while the number of departures was also down on August, according to the latest data from the Central Statistics Office.

The figures show there were 810,100 overseas passenger arrivals and 792,000 overseas passenger departures. These compare with 821,700 arrivals and 781,000 departures in August, representing a decrease and an increase of 1.4 per cent respectively.

They also compare with 254,400 arrivals and 236,700 departures in September 2020, representing increases of 218.5 per cent and 234.5 per cent respectively.

However, overseas travel in September remained less than half that of pre-pandemic September 2019, when there were 1,871,100 arrivals and 1,869,300 departures.


Of the 810,100 people arriving in Ireland in September, 91.7 per cent (743,000) arrived by air and 8.3 per cent (67,100) arrived by sea.

Of the 792,000 departing, 90.5 per cent (716,600) went by by air and 9.5 per cent (75,400) departed by sea.

The continental route accounted for most passenger traffic, with 60.9 per cent of arrivals (493,100) and 57.9 per cent of departures (458,600). Cross-channel route was next busiest, with 31.2 per cent of arrivals (252,700) and 35.0 per cent of departures (277,100).

The transatlantic route, with the US still subject to restrctions on entry, accounts for just 5 per cent of arrivals (40,500) and 5.1 per cent of departures (40,000).

In country-specific terms, Britain proved most important, accounting for 252,500 arrivals and 276,900 departures. Spain was the second most important routing country, with 128,800 arrivals and 130,300 departures. France was third most important with 53,000 arrivals and 49,600 departures.

For the year-to-date, 2,551,600 persons have arrived in Ireland from overseas and 2,609,100 persons have departed.

This compares with 4,031,000 arrivals and 4,013,600 departures in the same period in 2020, and 15,692,600 arrivals and 15,753,300 departures in the same period in 2019.

CSO statistician Gregg Patrick said the figures “show that overseas travel held steady compared to the preceding month”.

“The September 2021 statistics show that continental routes contributed most to the passenger traffic,” he said. “When we look at the year-to-date picture, the statistics show the ongoing impact of the Covoi-19 pandemic on international travel to and from Ireland.”

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson

Colin Gleeson is an Irish Times reporter