Irish residents spent almost €7.5 billion on foreign trips last year.
The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) show that there was a huge increase in both overseas and domestic travel in 2018.
There was a 13.4% boost in the number of ‘staycations’ last year as the record-breaking heatwave last summer encouraged people to stay and holiday in Ireland.
Irish residents took more than 10.9 million domestic trips in 2018, a 13.4% increase in comparison to the number of trips made in 2017.
On average, the trips lasted for 2.6 nights, resulting in some 28.4 million bed nights for the year.
Almost half of all domestic trips – 49% – were holidays, while 34% were classed as visits to friends or relatives.
It proved a major economic boost, with the total spend on domestic trips in 2018 amounting to just over €2 billion.
Approximately €1.2 billion of this was spent by those taking holidays, with the remainder either the result of people visiting friends or relatives, or those travelling for business.
People staying in hotel accommodation accounted for over 4.2 million domestic trips.
Over 8.6 million outbound trips were taken by Irish residents in 2018, an increase of 5.8% on the previous year.
It amounted to a total of 60 million bed nights overseas.
Almost three quarters (73%) of these bed nights were within the European Union.
The average length of stay on those trips was 7 nights, varying from 6 nights within the European Union, 11.6 nights in North America and 33.3 nights in Australia, New Zealand and Oceania.
Irish residents overseas tend to favour hotel accommodation over alternatives, with 22.3 million nights spent in hotels in comparison to 13 million spent in self-catering or rental accommodation.
— Central Statistics Office Ireland (@CSOIreland) June 19, 2019
Spain and the United Kingdom remain the most popular destinations for those going overseas.
There were 1.78 million trips to Spain, a slight increase from 1.75 million in 2017, while the UK saw 2.7 million trips in 2018, up from 2.5 million the previous year.
In 2017, the number of trips taken to France had declined to 550,000 from 610,000 but this climbed to 651,000 in 2018.
Similarly, there was an increase in the number of trips to Germany (366,000) and Italy (448,000).
In contrast, there was a significant drop in the number of trips to Portugal, down to 418,000 from 526,000 in 2017.
Long haul trips are becoming more popular with the number of trips to Asia increasing to 256,000 and other non-European destinations increasing to 206,000 from 125,000.
There was a slight decline in the number of trips to the USA and Canada, according to the CSO, with 546,000 trips recorded, down from 558,000 the previous year.
In total, Irish residents spent €7.4 billion on outbound travel last year, with €1.5 billion spent in Spain.
The USA and Canada was the next highest at €1.2 billion, with the UK third at €1.1 billion.