Spain Remains Top Destination for Irish Tourists but Staycation Popularity Rising

Spain remains the most popular summer holiday destination for Irish holiday-goers according to a recent AA Travel Insurance survey. However, the survey also found a growing percentage of Irish people are choosing to spend their main holiday in the Republic of Ireland.

According to the AA Travel Insurance survey of over 3,000 Irish people, 18.96% of respondents plan on spending their main holiday this year in Spain, making it the most popular destination for the fourth year in a row. However, this figure represents a slight decrease from 2018, where over 1 in 5 people (20.42%) planned on spending their main holiday in Spain.

One of the reasons for this slight drop is an increase in the number of people opting to holiday in Ireland. Last year, the AA found that just over 15% of Irish people intended on spending their main holiday in Ireland. However, this year that figure has increased to 17.38%

“When choosing our holiday destinations, sun and warmer climates have always been near the top of Irish people’s wish-lists so it’s unsurprising that Spain remains as popular as ever. What may come as a slight surprise, however, is the increase in people opting to stay in Ireland for their main holiday with this option now almost as popular as many people’s number one choice of a trip to Spain,” Conor Faughnan, AA Director of Consumer Affairs stated.

“Stay at home or at a hotel in Ireland can be a great way to cut down your holiday costs, and certainly something which our hospitality sector will welcome, but if you’re travelling further afield it’s important that you don’t cut out the essentials such as travel insurance just to try to keep costs down. If anything were to go wrong during your holiday, such as personal circumstances forcing you to cut your trip short, the costs associated with doing so would be far more expensive than your travel insurance cover would have been.”

Among other European destinations proving popular with Irish tourists were France (7.06%), Portugal (6.41%), Italy (6.04%) and the United Kingdom (4%). Despite the ongoing uncertainty surrounding Brexit, the percentage of Irish people opting to holiday in the UK remained largely consistent with previous years, according to the AA’s findings.

For those travelling further afield, the USA remains the most popular destination outside of Europe, with 5.76% of respondents to the AA’s survey planning on spending their main holiday in the states. The survey also found that almost 6% of Irish people do not intend on taking a holiday this year.

“Ultimately, any time you go abroad, even if it’s only for a short trip to a nearby country, it’s important that you have travel insurance in place to help protect you against some of the unexpected circumstances and costs that can crop up. However, if you’re one of the people fortunate enough to be going to the US, we would see travel insurance as an absolute essential,” Faughnan added. “Very quickly a hospital visit of any duration in the US can rack up a major bill, particularly if you require emergency surgery or intervention. You may think it’s unlikely that you’ll require a hospital visit during your holiday but accidents and injuries do happen unfortunately.”

Fig.1 Where are you planning on spending your main holiday, i.e. a holiday of at least 5 nights duration, in 2019?

Based on 3,217 responses to an AA Travel Insurance survey undertaken in January 2019.

Republic of Ireland17.38%
Northern Ireland0.46%
Great Britain4.00%
Elsewhere in Central/Eastern Europe5.48%
Central America0.19%
South America0.46%
Middle East0.28%
Australia / New Zealand1.58%
I’m not taking a holiday this year5.95%
I’m not sure11.43%

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