Irish residents spent €1.2bn on overseas business trips or holidays in the first three months of this year.
Generally, overseas’ travel was up on first quarter figures from last year, despite a late Easter which has been blamed for the fall in the number of domestic breaks.
Compared to the period January-March last year, a 9% drop in the number of domestic holiday breaks was recorded. The figures were revealed by the Central Statistics Office in its Household Travel Survey for the first quarter of 2017.
“The number of trips taken is influenced by [the date] when Easter falls,” the CSO commented. “In 2017, Easter Sunday fell on April 16 while in 2016 it fell on March 27th.”
By way of comparison, however, the CSO noted the number of domestic trips taken in the first quarter of 2016 was up 19.5% compared with the same period in 2015. Easter Sunday in 2015 fell on April 5. Domestic breaks lasted two nights on average which pointed towards 3.8m bed nights.
Holidays taken in Ireland by its residents accounted for 43.7% of all domestic trips while more than a third (36.3%) were to visit friends or relatives.
Meanwhile, Easter being late in the calendar year did not cause a fall in the number of overseas trips.
A total of 1.6m outbound trips were recorded by Irish residents over the first three months, an increase of 5.5% over the same period last year. The Irish also spent an estimated €1.22bn on outbound trips in the first quarter of the year.
Holiday-goers accounted for €652m while €263m was attributed to business trips.
Furthermore, over €180m was spent visiting friends and relatives overseas. More than half of the trips out of the country were to the UK and Spain which recorded trip numbers of 624,000 and 267,000, respectively, during the three months.
Over half (52.1%) of all outbound trips were classified as holidays while almost a quarter (24.3%) were for visiting friends or relatives.
Overseas trips by Irish residents abroad in the first quarter of the year accounted for 9.7m bed nights abroad.
Visitors who stayed in hotels accounted for 3.8m nights while those staying with family and friends accounted for more than 2.7m nights. Self-catering/rented house accommodation made up a further 2m bed nights.
Meantime, more than seven in every 10 overseas package trips (71.8%) were booked online, with 54.1% of all trips booked online via a tour operator or travel agent. Nearly a third (31.3%) of those who took an overseas trip said they did not need to book any accommodation which strongly signalled they stayed with family or friends.
The survey is calculated based on the information provided by 4,600 people a month, who are asked questions on the number of trips they take.
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