Trips to Ireland from UK drop 6.4% under Brexit effect
Sterling weakness and economic uncertainty understood to be behind UK tourist decline
The decline in the value of sterling has made holidays and short breaks here more expensive for British visitors; and economic uncertainty is undoubtedly making British travellers more cautious about their discretionary spending. Photograph: Aidan Crawley
Trips to Ireland from Britain fell by 6.4 per cent between April and June this year, according to figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), as sterling continues to weaken against the euro.
There were 949,200 trips by British residents in the three months compared to 1,013,600 trips in April to June 2016.
Visits to Ireland from Britain have continued to fall since the UK decided to leave the European Union in June 2016. One British pound is currently valued at €1.12.
In the first six months of 2016, there were 1,865,000 visits to Ireland from Britain, compared to 1,745,300 between January and June in 2017, also a drop of 6.4 per cent.
Overall trips to Ireland from foreign citizens increased by 4.2 per cent in the first six months of 2017, in comparison to the same period last year. Trips to Ireland increased by 6.6 per cent between April and June, in comparison to the second quarter of 2016.
The total number of trips to Ireland during those three months was 2,769,400, up from 2,598,900 in 2016.
Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said the currency challenge for Irish tourism “is very real” while the “drop in British visitor numbers for the January to June period reflects that”.
“The decline in the value of sterling has made holidays and short breaks here more expensive for British visitors; and economic uncertainty is undoubtedly making British travellers more cautious about their discretionary spending. This is impacting on travel to Ireland,” he said.
Tourism Ireland said it is placing a greater focus on the “culturally curious audience who are less impacted by currency fluctuations” and are also undertaking an expanded partnership programme with airlines, ferry operators and tour operators, “communicating a strong price-led message”.
Trips to Ireland from other EU countries increased by 10.1 per cent while visits from North America increased by 20.9 per cent to 628,900 during the second quarter of the year.
“Particularly welcome is the continued strong performance from North America,” Mr Gibbons added. “Tourism Ireland has prioritised North America for 2017 as a market which offers a strong return on investment, in terms of holiday visitors and expenditure.
“A number of factors are working in our favour, including more airline seats than ever before, from more gateways across the US and Canada.”
In 2016, the number of overseas trips to Ireland increased by 10.9 per cent when compared to 2015.
Irish residents’ trips overseas and within Ireland increased by 6.8 per cent in the second quarter of the year, up from 4,574,200 in the same period last year to 4,888,400.