Fáilte Ireland also reckons almost two-thirds of the country’s 3.3 million adults have enjoyed a short holiday on the home market in the 12 months to June last.
“These short domestic breaks account for most of the holidays taken by Irish holidaymakers in 2005 and represent €362m in expenditure,” said Fáilte Ireland marketing director Paul Keeley.
Irish holidaymakers who enjoy short breaks take on average two a year, citing change of scenery, visits to family and ease of travelling as factors in deciding to go.
Influencing factors also depend on the age and lifestyle of the holidaymaker, with families concentrating on child-friendly facilities while those without kids look for mid-week offers.
The number of short breaks enjoyed last year came to 2.2 million. Longer holidays of four nights or more came to 1.13 million, representing €345m in expenditure.
An analysis of the tourist board’s www.ireland.ie website in the four weeks leading to the October Bank Holiday weekend reveals holidaymakers are looking for spa breaks and festivals like Cork’s jazz extravaganza, the Wexford Opera Festival and Dublin City Marathon.
So far this year the number of tourists using the board’s website has totalled one million — up from 770,000 users for the whole of 2005.
Further research reveals seven million people attend the country’s 400 cultural events every year.
“In the run up to this bank holiday weekend we’ve had 220,000 tourists just on our website looking for last-minute breaks,” Mr Keeley said.