What you need to know

Irish consumers prefer to go on independently booked short breaks or holidays, thus highlighting the importance of personalisation, customisation and freedom of choice. Belfast, Dublin and Ulster are top domestic destinations for NI consumers while Munster, Connacht and Dublin appeal more to consumers from RoI.

When it comes to overseas getaways, Irish consumers show strong interest in visiting GB and mainland Spain. When on holidays or short breaks, consumers take part in activities such as shopping, visiting pubs and bars, taking trips to historical attractions, going for walks in parks and forests as well as relaxing on the beach when overseas. With Ireland’s strong retail offering, predominantly in the capital cities, rich heritage and outstanding landscapes, the region caters well for domestic and overseas visitors alike.

Nonetheless, it is important that tourism organisations, marketing bodies and tourism providers work collaboratively to further enhance Ireland’s ‘product service’ offering by capitalising on opportunities that arise from screen tourism, building on the legacy of NI’s Year of Food and Drink, as well as developing cultural/heritage attractions and a range of nature-based activities.

Issues covered in this Report

The Report evaluates the tourism performance across the island of Ireland. It examines the main market drivers and trends affecting the industry, and influencing consumer behaviour. Moreover, it highlights the key issues within global tourism markets. Finally, it draws on consumer research and examines the preferences and general tourism behaviour of Irish consumers.


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.

  • 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.

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