Outbound travel from Ireland 2015

Travel by Irish people on outbound trips increased by 6% in 2015 according to recently released CSO data. The Irish Tourist Industry Confederation (ITIC) has interpreted the available data and it shows that the recovering domestic economy has meant Irish residents have taken more overseas trips. Recovery from the nadir year of 2011 has been slow and is still a long way short of the peak years of 2007 but expenditure and volume of outbound trips has increased year on year.

€6 billion, 7 million trips


Irish residents made just over 7 million outbound trips spending €6 billion on 53.5 million nights spent out of the country.

Demand for foreign travel increased by an estimated 6% or approximately 400,000 more trips more than in the previous year. Expenditure rose by 7.5% to just over €6 billion.

  • The number of holiday trips out of the country grew year on year by 14% to almost 4.2 million, with corresponding expenditure up 13% to just under €3.9 billion.
  • VFR trips abroad in 2015 would appear to have declined by 8%, with 1.5 million trips spending €867 million down 10% on the previous year.
  • Perhaps surprisingly the number of business trips abroad showed little change on 2014, despite the growth in the economy and exports, with close to 700,000 outbound business trips spending an estimated €765 million last year.
  • Travel for other reasons, including sporting event, medical, seeking work and other personal reasons grew by 4% to an estimated 668,000, spending just over €500 million.


NOTE: The estimates for outbound travel by purpose of visit show a marked variance between the estimates derived from the Passenger Card Inquiry and those based on the Household Travel Survey – as published by the CSO in Tourism and Travel Quarter 4 2015 (March 18,2016) and Household Travel Survey Quarter 4 and Year 2015 (April 07, 2016).

The vast majority of trips are to other European countries, an estimated 6 million trips last year, with 417,000 trips to North America and a further 313,000 to destinations further afield. It would appear that travel to destinations outside Europe declined in 2015, a reversal of the trend in recent years – perhaps a reflection of a weak euro?


(Source: CSO)

  • 1.9 million trips to the top destination – Britain – shows a decline for the second consecutive year, suggesting the adverse impact of a strong pound sterling on demand from Ireland. CSO’s estimate of trips to Northern Ireland also shows a drop in demand over each of the past 3 years.
  • Spain continues to be the next most popular destination for Irish going abroad with an estimated 1.68 million visits in 2015, an increase of 25% on the previous year. (The level of increase in trips from Ireland to Spain (+25%) and to Italy (+40%) would appear to be high based on the capacity increase on air services between the two countries and the estimates of growth in inbound visitors from both Spain and Italy in 2015).
  • The average length of stay aboard was 7.6 nights, varying from 6.7 nights within the EU, to 13.9 nights for trips to North America and 24.7 nights on trips to Australia, New Zealand and Oceania.
  • The average length of trip declined in 2015 compared to a year earlier. Holiday trips abroad at an average of 8.4 nights were longer than VFR trips with an average stays of 7.2 nights and business trips at 3.7 nights.
  • Almost one third of trips (31%) were taken between July and September, with 27% in the April-June quarter and 19% in the first and 23% in the last quarters of the year. Compared to the previous year demand was up in each of the four quarters.
  • Use of online booking channels continues to climb, with close to 90% of travel (airline and ferry) reservations being made via the internet. (CSO: Q4, 2014 data).

(Source: CSO)


Holiday Travel Abroad


Expenditure on foreign holidays in 2015 is estimated at €3.9 billion, up 13% with the number of trips up 14% to close to 4.2 million. Recovery from the nadir year of 2011 has been slow and is still a long way short of the boom years of 2007 & 2008.

(Source: CSO)

  • The average stay abroad on holiday last year was 8.4 nights, a decrease on the previous year estimated at 9.0 nights and below the average five years ago of 9.5 nights.
  • Not surprisingly, holiday travel is highly peaked with two thirds of all holiday trips taken between April and September, with the three months July/August/September accounting for 37% of the annual demand.
  • Off season demand in 2015 was particularly buoyant with demand for holidays up 26% in the first quarter and up 12% in the last quarter of the year – suggesting a recovery in the number of trips taken per annum as the economy improves.
  • Almost 70% of package holidays (Q4, ’14) were booked on line.

NOTE: The range of data and analysis presented in the latest Household Travel Survey release in a new format contains less information on outbound travel than in previous years. The range of destinations for which estimates are provided has been reduced, while data on region of origin of demand, mode of travel and breakdown of short and long trips have been dropped.

Analysis based on CSO statistical release, Household Travel Survey, Quarter 4 2015 (07 April 2016) which can be accessed by CLICKING HERE

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