New research conducted by Europcar Ireland, subsidiary of Europcar Group, shows that one in four people in Ireland took a ‘staycation’ last year, an increase of 39% on the number of people taking holidays in Ireland in 2016. These are among key findings of Europcar Ireland’s 2017 Tourism Index, which shines light on tourist profiles and trends in Ireland.
The number of Irish people taking a staycation as their main holiday for the year has jumped significantly since 2016. Last year over half (53%) of Irish staycationers reported their holiday in Ireland as their main getaway of the year, in contrast to just under one in five (19%) in 2016. Half of those who staycation in Ireland are doing so to discover new parts of the country – Dublin is the most popular destination among one-fifth of staycationers, followed by Galway (14%), Kerry (13%) and Cork (12%).
Who is Visiting and Why
The Europcar Ireland research shows that most (27%) foreign tourists who visited Ireland last year came from the UK, while Americans made up another 13% of tourists and Italians were next in line at 12%. The majority (59%) of tourists from abroad had visited Ireland previously, but over two-fifths (41%) were making their first trip to the country. Most visitors (61%) travelled to Ireland to discover what the country has to offer, while over a third (34%) were visiting family and friends or in the country for a family occasion.
Airbnb Popularity Growth
The number of tourists staying in shared private accommodation, such as Airbnb, experienced a surge over the last two years – just 7% chose private accommodation in 2015, which rose to almost one in four (23%) tourists in 2017. According to the index, this increased popularity of Airbnb may be attributed to the high-quality accommodation experience reported by tourists. Nearly three-quarters (72%) rated the standard of their Airbnb as excellent or very good, and almost every person (99%) staying in private shared accommodation last year found their hosts to be very welcoming and helpful. 93% of tourists felt their Airbnb was good value for money, and the vast majority (72%) would prefer an Airbnb to any other type of accommodation in Ireland.
The Irish Pub Experience
Ireland’s pub scene didn’t fail to impress tourists in 2017, with nearly all (93%) visiting a pub during their stay. For almost four-fifths of people (79%), visiting an Irish pub was an important part of their experience of Irish culture during their holiday, and almost half (43%) rated the warm welcome and atmosphere of Irish pubs as the best part of the pub scene. Almost a third (28%) of tourists appreciated listening to traditional music in Irish pubs and 18% considered the taste of real Irish Guinness to be the highlight of the pub experience in Ireland.
Tourists Behind the Wheel
The survey found that 97% of tourists enjoyed exploring Ireland by car and the freedom it provided. More than three in five (61%) ranked roadside scenery as the biggest benefit of travelling Ireland via car, while another one of five (19%) were taken by Ireland’s small, winding country roads.
The research also revealed that the Irish are largely seen as safe drivers according to tourists, with 93% reporting drivers in Ireland to be safer than, or on par with, drivers in their home country.
Colm Menton, Managing Director, Europcar Ireland, said: “We are delighted to launch the results of the third annual Europcar Ireland Tourism Index and share our insights into current tourist attitudes and trends in Ireland. 2017 was another great year for tourism in Ireland with an increase of 4.2% in overseas visitors to Ireland during the first half of last year compared to the same period in 2016 according to the CSO.
“Particularly significant last year was the rise in the number of Irish residents choosing to explore the country further with a staycation. It is very encouraging for those who service the tourism sector to see how much Ireland has to offer existing Irish nationals and residents, in addition to tourists visiting from abroad.”