Overseas travel considerably higher over Christmas period compared with 2020

Travel levels still low overall, with figures in December half of those pre-pandemic

Arrivals into the country were down 12 per cent in December 2021 compared with the previous month. Photograph: iStock

Arrivals into the country were down 12 per cent in December 2021 compared with the previous month. Photograph: iStock

 

Overseas travel was considerably higher over the Christmas period when compared with December 2020 as people returned home for the holidays. However, overseas travel decreased in December compared with the previous month.

Air and sea travel figures for December, published by the Central Statistics Office, showed a total of 692,900 people arrived into the State, down 12 per cent from November 2021, while 732,700 people departed. That was a 7 per cent decline compared with the previous month.

Overseas travel was considerably higher than Christmas 2020 when air travel was hit by Covid-19. Arrivals into the country increased by more than 300 per cent in December 2021 compared with the previous year, when 164,400 people arrived and 178,800 departed.

However, overseas travel still remains considerably low, as travel in December was about half that of pre-pandemic levels, when there were 1,372,600 arrivals and 1,383,800 departures in December 2019.

Overall in 2021, nearly five million people arrived in Ireland from overseas, and more than five million people departed. This was an increase on 2020, but a considerable decrease compared with 2019 travel when 20,143,700 people arrived and 20,205,300 departed in the same period.

“This illustrates the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on international travel to and from Ireland,” said CSO statistician Gregg Patrick.

Of the people who arrived into the country in 2021, 93 per cent travelled by air and 7 per cent arrived by sea.

Routes

Continental routes accounted for most passenger travel, while the cross-travel route was the next busiest. The transatlantic route saw just 8 per cent of arrivals and nearly 8 per cent of departures

Mr Patrick said: “The December 2021 statistics show that continental routes contributed most to the passenger traffic. Some 329,400 passengers arrived on continental routes and 396,100 passengers departed on continental routes.

“By way of contrast, 285,400 passengers arrived on cross-channel routes and 255,600 passengers departed on cross-channel routes. Just 55,800 passengers arrived on transatlantic routes and 56,500 passengers departed on these routes.”

Apart from Britain, which accounted for all cross-channel routes, the most important routing countries for overseas travel in December 2021 were Spain with 69,400 arrivals and 86,600 departures, the United States with 49,000 arrivals and 49,000 departures, and France.