Although the recent economic recovery both in NI and RoI has yet to truly impact upon consumers' pockets, there has already been an increase in domestic tourism – particularly in NI.

However, data indicates that Irish consumers tend to regard Ireland more as a short break (one-three nights) destination rather than a holiday (four or more nights) destination. Moreover, the focus of cross-border tourism, in particular, on the two main cities of Dublin and Belfast, is very much to the exclusion of coastal and rural areas. Alongside this, the last few years have seen strong growth in overseas visitor numbers to Ireland, and all indications are that this will continue for the foreseeable future.

This report examines tourism involving Irish consumers both in Ireland and abroad. It examines the forces and drivers impacting upon Irish consumers' behaviour, as well as trends, consumer preferences and general tourist activity.

Key themes in the report

  • What are Irish consumers' preferences when it comes to trips away? – Do Irish consumers favour short breaks or longer holidays when taking time out? Do they prefer short breaks/holidays abroad or within Ireland? How do they arrange these holidays and short breaks?

  • What are Irish consumers' preferred short break/holiday destinations? – When taking a holiday or short break within Ireland, where do consumers go? And what are the preferred overseas destinations?

  • What activities do Irish consumers participate in when on a short break or holiday? – From shopping to cycling, what do Irish consumers most like to do when away? Do certain activities appeal to certain demographics only?

  • What is the extent of deal-of-the-day website use among Irish consumers? – Do Irish consumers make extensive use of deal-of-the-day websites when arranging certain aspects of short breaks or holidays? What particular aspects are consumers most inclined to use these sites for? Are consumers more or less inclined to use these sites when holidaying at home or overseas?

Mintel reports of relevance include:

  • Accommodation – Ireland, October 2014

  • Events Tourism – Ireland, August 2014

  • Technology and Irish Tourism – Ireland, July 2014

  • Culture and Heritage Tourism – Ireland, January 2014

  • Domestic Tourism – UK, September 2013

  • Domestic vs Overseas Tourism – Ireland, January 2013

Data sources

In compiling this report, Mintel has gathered data from separate NI and RoI sources (eg NISRA, CSO). In some cases, therefore, it has not been possible to provide comparable data for each region. For the purposes of this report:

  • Ireland or IoI refers to the island of Ireland.

  • NI refers to Northern Ireland.

  • RoI refers to the Republic of Ireland.

  • Therefore, ‘Irish consumers’ refers to both NI and RoI consumers.

Mintel also draws consumer insight from other sources:

  • Mintel’s database and previous Mintel reports in the UK and Ireland.

  • Exclusive consumer research commissioned by Mintel and conducted by Toluna in October 2014.


The standard travel and tourism definitions used in the terminology of this report are as follows:

  • Tourism is any travel, which involves an overnight stay away from home.

  • A holiday is a subjectively defined form of tourism and can be distinguished from other leisure travel such as visits to friends and relatives (VFR) or shopping trips.

  • For the purposes of this report, a holiday is a trip of four nights or more away from home; a short break is a trip that involves one to three nights away from home.

  • Short-haul refers to air holidays within Europe, dominated by flights to Mediterranean resorts but including the Canaries, which are treated as a part of the Spanish market. Long-haul, therefore, refers to holidays outside Europe.

  • An inclusive tour, or package holiday, is defined as the simultaneous sale of at least two elements of a holiday to the traveller: fares on public transport (eg flights) and commercial accommodation (eg hotel or self-catering apartment). Other elements, such as meals or excursions, are not essential to the definition of an inclusive tour. The term ‘all-inclusive’ is used to describe a special type of resort holiday in which food, drink, excursions and other services are provided as part of the total holiday cost.

  • An independent holiday is one in which the traveller organises and books transport and accommodation from separate sources. Seat- or flight-only is a type of independent holiday, and the terms are used to denote holidays in which travellers only purchase a return fare and thereafter book their own accommodation, car hire etc.


APD Air Passenger Duty
ATT Air Travel Tax
B&B Bed & Breakfast
CPI Consumer Price Index
CSO Central Statistics Office
CTTC Coach Tourism & Transport Council
DEL Department for Employment and Learning
DETINI Department for Enterprise, Trade and Investment Northern Ireland
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