Following the introduction of visa free travel for Emiratis last year, UAE travellers to Ireland increased by 63.7 per cent year-on-year.
According to a report released by dnata Travel, a 55 per cent rise in travel arrangements made within 14 days in advance of travelling was witnessed from this market, including a nine per cent increase in bookings made within three days of travel.
Dnata Travel also indicated a nine per cent jump in solo travellers from the UAE, with room nights and average booking values also having witnessed impressive year-on-year growth.
CEO, Tourism Ireland, Niall Gibbons commented on the positive news: “The draw of Ireland for GCC travellers was undeniable last year and we’re proud to welcome more visitors to our country every year. Visa-free travel was a historic step for Ireland-Emirati relations, and we’re delighted that more people are able to see all that we hold dear to our hearts – be it the diverse and rich landscape, the welcoming locals, hearty cuisine, and the vibrant culture of the island.”
Gibbons continued: “We thank dnata Travel for being a key partner, as our collaborative efforts have proven extremely successful in the past year,” Gibbons added. “We look forward to continuing our joint efforts in 2019 and welcoming even more guests to Ireland.”
Also commenting was vice president of retail and ecommerce, dnata Travel UAE, Antonio Fellino: “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 per cent of travellers with us booking in pairs.”
Dublin proved extremely popular among GCC travellers in particular, with an 80 per cent rise in room night bookings witnessed. Meanwhile, destinations such as Cork, Galway and Kerry have also welcomed a healthy jump in visitor numbers. New destinations with increased levels of interest in 2018 included Kilkenny, Donegal and Limerick.
UAE travellers to Ireland often opt to visit both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, due to the many activities on offer, ranging from hiking, trekking, and even surfing.
Those wishing to experience Ireland and all the country has to offer can make the most of offers created by dnata Travel, in partnership with Tourism Ireland. Offers start from $952 per person and include a three-night stay and return flights from Dubai to Dublin.