Over one million Irish residents have travelled to Spain this year to date. According to figures released by the Spanish Statistical Institute and the Spanish Tourism Office, over 1.2 million passengers flew from Ireland to Spanish airports between January and August 2015 (a 12% increase year on year). The number of Irish visitors to Spain reached 977,844 over the same period (a 5.2% increase year-on-year). Gonzalo Ceballos, Director, Spanish Tourism Office in Ireland, thanked the Irish public for making Spain the leading destination for holidaymakers.
While June and July remain the most popular months for travel, the figures also show that 156,385 Irish residents travelled to Spain in August 2015. The most popular destinations, by order of volume, are the Canary Islands, Andalucía, Cataluña, Valencia Region and the Balearic Islands. These five destinations account for 90% of Irish tourism to Spain.
José María Rodríguez-Coso, Spanish Ambassador to Ireland, told Irish Travel Trade News: “Irish people travel the world and are good at adapting to different conditions. They find their own way and discover their own things, so I would encourage Irish visitors to Spain to ‘do something new’!”
Gonzalo Ceballos added: “Safety, climate, proximity and good value for money are key factors for this leadership. The extraordinary popularity of Spain as a destination also has to do with the two-hour flight to mainland Spain and the fantastic air travel connections, with nearly two million seats on direct flights to Spain made available in 2015.
“Spain offers a broad choice of things to do and discover: new tastes, cultural and adventure travel, and great football matches. Spain is a world leader with 45 biosphere destinations and 44 World Heritage Sites and has over 435 golf courses and 300 days of sun. Of course, Spain also offers over 3,000 beaches and 678 Blue Flag awards, marking it out as the number one country in the world for such facilities, so there is no better place to relax. Irish tourists also value the fact that Spain has one of the lowest crime rates in Europe and an excellent healthcare system.”
According to CSO figures Spain accounted for nearly one in fr of all the nights spent abroad by Irish tourists in 2014 (13.25 million nights, 24.7% of total). This is more than the combined nights spent in France, Italy, Portugal, Germany and Northern Ireland. More Irish tourists holidayed in Spain than the combined total to France, Italy and Portugal, making Spain only second to the UK in terms of the number of trips taken by Irish residents.
Travel to Spain also has the highest share in Irish travel expenditure, 21% of which was spent on travel to Spain (in excess of €1.2 billion). This is more than the expenditure of Irish travel to France, Germany, Italy and Portugal combined, or to North America and Asia and Middle East together.
Gonzalo added: “The welcoming nature of the people, the rich culture and relaxed atmosphere attracts and unites Irish and Spanish people, making it a success story year after year.”