Ireland - Country Commercial Guide
Travel and Tourism
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Ireland has the highest per capita travel to the United States in Europe and the third highest in the world, second only to Canada and Mexico.  Prior to 2020, over half a million Irish people, 11% of the Irish population, travelled to the U.S. each year.  The Irish market ranks 15th on the global table of inbound travel and 7th in Europe in terms of expenditure in the U.S.  Two of the five international airports, Dublin and Shannon, operate transatlantic services daily.

Through the peak summer season, there are 183 weekly direct U.S. flights from Dublin and 40 weekly flights from Shannon or over 56,355 seats a week.  Currently, 15 U.S. cities are served with direct flights from Dublin and Shannon: Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas, Hartford, Cleveland, Los Angeles, New York JFK, New Jersey Newark, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington. Two additional long-haul services between Ireland and the U.S. will begin in 2024 bringing the total to 18 U.S. cities served.  A new direct route to Denver, Colorado, and the relaunch of the Minneapolis-St Paul service will begin next summer.

The post-pandemic resumption/re-launch of air routes between Ireland and the U.S. has seen over 212,000 Irish people travel to the U.S. since January 2023.  The recovery is accelerating, with quarter 1 of 2023 at 96% of pre-pandemic levels in terms of Ireland visitation to the U.S.  Ireland is the only country in Europe and one of only two countries outside of Canada and the Caribbean that has U.S preclearance at both Dublin and Shannon airports. U.S. preclearance in Ireland allows U.S. bound passengers to clear all U.S entry controls such as immigrations, customs, and agriculture prior to departure, so that on arrival in the U.S., travelers face no further entry controls.  This preclearance encourages travelers from all over Europe and the United Kingdom to travel via Ireland to the States. 

Forecasts show that the Irish transatlantic travel market is expected to continue to grow, fueled by the opening of new direct routes, an increase in seat capacity, and expected continued economic growth.

Leading Sub-Sectors

The top U.S. destinations for Irish holidaymakers include New York, Florida, California, Massachusetts, and Illinois.  New York is the most popular destination for Irish visitors commanding a dominant 30% share of the Irish market.

Shopping and sightseeing are the top activities for Irish travelers followed by national parks and monuments, historical locations, and fine dining.  Airlines, personal recommendations, and online travel agencies are the main sources used by Irish travelers when planning their trips stateside.

Some 55% of Irish visitors to the U.S. are visiting for vacation purposes, followed by business travel and visiting friends/relatives.  The average length of stay for Irish visitors in the USA is 11.5 nights and Irish spending is above average.


The Irish economy had one of the strongest performances seen anywhere on the globe with a growth of 12% in 2022 and is expected to continue to grow.  By the end of 2022 Irish household deposits stood at €130 billion, almost 30 per cent higher than at the onset of the pandemic.  Higher disposal income influences Irish travellers to travel to long haul destinations like the United States for longer with increased overseas spending.

In terms of business travel, Ireland is the ninth largest investor in the United States.  As Irish companies expand their footprint stateside, a new generation of family and friends are visiting the United States for the first time.

Both business and family ties, provide a strong opportunity for the U.S. market with more than 32 million U.S. residents claiming Irish ancestry.  Cultural tourism, musical heritage, small towns, and historical sites also represent opportunities to attract Irish visitors.


For further information about the Irish travel and tourism market contact:

Julianne O Leary

Commercial Advisor

U.S. Commercial Service Dublin

Tel: +353-1-237-5862