According to Pat Dawson, chief executive of the Irish Travel Agents Association, the number one destination is definitely Spain, with 1.5 million Irish people expected to make trips there this year, which is a healthy increase on last year.
It was recently revealed that the number of Irish tourists to Spain in January and February increased by 20.2% when compared with same period last year and that overall the total number of overseas trips made by Irish residents during the period December 2015 to February 2016 increased by 7.7% to 1,363,000.
The ITAA chief executive said Portugal was the other location to which people were flocking this year, while there had also been a big increase in flights to Germany and Italy.
Overall, he said there is expected to be seven million trips out of Ireland in 2016.
The country’s participation in Euro 2016 will mean anywhere between 15,000 and 20,000 people will flock to France, hopefully for as long a stay as possible depending on how the national soccer team progresses.
Mr Dawson said that, with the turnaround in the country’s finances, there had been a noticeable pick-up in the numbers who were once more going on foreign holidays, though he acknowledged the recovery was being more keenly felt in cities than rural areas.
Mr Dawson said there has also been a healthy increase in trips to US and that is reflected in the extra capacity which has been put on by airlines with inbound and outbound flights increasing up to 50%. He said the transatlantic flights with Norwegian Air would add to that sooner rather than later.
Last month, Cork Airport confirmed it would welcome at least nine new routes this summer, with a further three in the near future. The new routes included Düsseldorf with Aer Lingus, London City, Nantes and La Rochelle with CityJet, Madrid with Iberia Express, Cardiff with Flybe, Southampton and Leeds Bradford with Aer Lingus Regional as well as Menorca with Lee Travel and Stein Travel.