dnata Travel, a major travel company in the Middle East, has reported a 63.5% increase in year-on-year travel from the UAE to Ireland.
The company has attributed the sharp increase to the new visa-free travel scheme for Emiratis to Ireland, which has been in operation since early 2018.
A new report for 2018, compiled by dnata Travel, shows a 55% increase in travel arrangements to Ireland made within 14 days in advance of travelling and a 9% increase in bookings made within three days of travel, indicating the benefit of visa restrictions being lifted. In addition, the report reveals a 9% increase in solo travellers, with bednights and average booking spend also experiencing a year-on-year growth.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “The introduction of visa-free travel from the UAE to Ireland was an historic step for Ireland-Emirati relations, helping to grow tourism from this important emerging market. We’re delighted that dnata Travel has experienced an increase in business to Ireland since visa-free travel was introduced.”
Antonio Fellino, Vice President of Retail & eCommerce for dnata Travel, commented: “With a combination of stark landscape differences and striking cultural similarities, Ireland is becoming a hotspot for UAE travellers. Ireland provides the perfect setting year-round for those looking to escape the desert heat to experience the lush green landscapes of the island. A truly family-focused destination, Ireland is popular with families and also couples, with 59% of travellers with us booking in pairs.”
Dublin has proven itself to be the most popular destination for GCC travellers, showing an 80% increase in bednight bookings, while Cork, Galway and Kerry have also shown growth in visitor numbers.