Market Intelligence
Travel and Tourism Ireland

Ireland Travel and Tourism Market Report Irish Travelers Return to U.S.

Pre-pandemic, Ireland had the highest per capita travel to the United States in Europe and the third highest in the world, second only to Canada and Mexico.  Over half a million Irish people, 11% of the Irish population, travelled to the U.S. on an annual basis.  Current Irish visitation figures paint a positive picture of growth with over 400,000 Irish residents having travelled to the U.S in 2022.  The increasing figures are promising, and it is expected that Irish visitation to the U.S. will be back to pre-pandemic levels this year. 

The global pandemic caused an 80% drop in Irish visitation to the United States between 2020 and 2022.  Travel to the U.S. was impacted by a national ‘lockdown’ in Ireland which restricted travel nationally and internationally.  A decrease in flight routes and the negative covid-19 testing requirement upon entering the United States also impacted Irish visitation to the States over the last 3 years.  Now, Ireland has moved to a ‘living with covid-19’ status having removed all covid-19 restrictions and rebuilding Irish travel to the U.S. is a strong focus for the Irish travel and trade.

As a small island of five million people with close Irish American ties, Ireland is a significant market for the U.S. travel and tourism sector.  Ireland currently, ranks 16th for global inbound travel to the U.S. and 7th in Europe in terms of expenditure in the United States.  While holiday travel accounts for most Irish visitors, corporate travel is increasing annually.  Ireland is the ninth largest investor in the United States and as Irish companies expand their footprint stateside, a new generation of family and friends are visiting the United States year-on-year.

New York, Boston, and Florida remain the top three destinations for Irish travelers.  Currently, there are 211 direct flights consisting of 56,355 seats a week from Ireland to the U.S. across four carriers;  Aer Lingus, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines.  These flights operate direct routes to 13 U.S. airports.  This year, the recommencement of a direct route to Bradley, Connecticut and a new route to Cleveland, Ohio will increase the direct route access from Ireland to the U.S. As Ireland is the only country in the EU and U.K. with pre-clearance capabilities operated by the Department of Homeland Security, many travelers across Europe and the U.K transit through Dublin and Shannon airports enroute to the U.S. to avail of the opportunity to clear customs before crossing the Atlantic. 

The U.S. travel trade industry in Ireland is keen to revive Irish travel to the United States.  Trade and media events with key stakeholders and U.S. DMO’s have been prevalent in Ireland over the last few months.  Irish travelers are beginning to plan their U.S. trips for 2023 and 2024, and now is the perfect opportunity for U.S. DMO’s to promote their destination in the Irish market. 
For additional information and support, including market analysis, trade events, and U.S. Commercial Service offerings, please contact our Commercial Advisor based in Dublin Ireland, Julianne O Leary.