The number of Irish people travelling to Egypt and Turkey has fallen amid terrorist attacks and an uncertain political arena in the once-popular tourist hotspots.
New figures from Euromonitor International show our nearest neighbours in the UK are still the No 1 destination for Irish people with 2.4 million making the hop across the Irish Sea in 2016.
Spain and Portugal are among the most popular destinations with the numbers going to Portugal almost doubling in the last decade.
Visitors to Turkey dropped by more than a fifth last year from 93,800 in 2015 to 73,000 in the wake of the failed military coup.
While Irish tourists to Egypt fell by a quarter over the last four years from 18,400 in 2012 to 14,000 last year.
In 2006, 23,000 Irish travellers made the trip to the winter sun hotspot of Tunisia. But last year that number had dwindled to just over 3,000 in the wake of the massacre of 38 people by a gunman in the popular resort of Port El Kantaoui on June 26, 2015.
While Irish people are staying away from the more volatile parts of the world, Portugal is proving to be a huge pull for Irish visitors. Ever-increasing numbers are heading out to the tourism meccas such as the Algarve and the newly fashionable capital city of Lisbon in recent years. and is now the fifth most popular destination.
But it still can’t compete in terms of numbers with its larger neighbour Spain which is the second most popular destination for Irish people with 1.8 million flying out to its sunny shores last year.
“Outbound travel to the UK and Spain has always been strong among the Irish population. The UK has very strong historical, geographical and commercial links with Ireland, while Spain has been the number one choice for sun-seeking tourists from Ireland for decades,” noted the Euromonitor report.
France is the third most popular destination while the US is at No.4 on the list.
Euromonitor also noted that rising disposable incomes in the wake of the recent recession is fuelling growth in outbound travel.
“Irish people are becoming more adventurous, after suffering years of negative economic sentiment and austerity, which has made many of them keen to maximise any opportunity to travel abroad”, noted the report.
1. UK – 2.4 million
2. Spain – 1.8 million
3. France – 497,000
4. US – 463,000
5. Portugal 353,000
6. Italy – 351,000
7. Germany – 198,000
8. Netherlands – 173,000
9. Poland – 147,000
10. Greece – 76,000
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