Travel from the UAE to the island of Ireland has seen strong growth from 1st January until 30th June 2019, based on travel statistics released by Dnata Travel, the UAE's longest-standing travel agency, which is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. Compared to the same period (H1) in 2018, UAE locals and residents have been visiting Ireland in greater numbers, drawn to its diverse landscape full of lush greenery and vast natural beauty. Over the first two quarters of the year, 58% more bookings to Ireland were made through dnata Travel's platforms, and room nights booked have also increased by 72%.
Additional data indicates that sales of trips and accommodation to Ireland increased nearly two-fold during Eid Al Fitr alone, as compared to last year. This correlated to the travel provider noting that online searches for holidays to Ireland have seen a 675% augmentation in the first six months of this year. The most preferred destination for travellers from the UAE market was to Dublin, with 95% of hotel bookings made through the dnata Travel platform favouring the capital city, followed by the cosmopolitan city of Cork. Visitors from the region have been found to reinforce their preference for luxury accommodation whilst abroad, as 47% of hotels booked were for 5-star properties, followed by 4-star and 3-star hotels respectively.
Antonio Fellino, Vice President of Retail and eCommerce for Dnata Travel UAE, commented: "Trips to Ireland with Dnata Travel offer UAE travellers unique opportunities including the chance to stay in a grand castle, or a small cottage at the heart of a colourful local village, or to explore rugged, scenic landscapes that follow in the footsteps of their favourite Game of Thrones characters. Earlier this year we brought a mini-Ireland to life in the Dnata Travel store in The Dubai Mall equipped with its own castle and a wind dome full of prizes to be caught, and the response was fantastic."
The ever-strengthening relationship between the two nations, highlighted by visa free entry now available to UAE nationals, is further amongst the contributing factors towards the formidable spike in travel figures. The UAE's support and celebration of Ireland's National Day – with numerous UAE landmarks such as the Burj Khalifa lighting up in green – as well as dnata Travel's unique heart-shaped wind dome in The Dubai Mall, further enforced visibility and awareness of Ireland as a top holiday destination. Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, commented: "The island of Ireland has much to offer to the residents of the UAE, be it adventure, scenic landscapes, or unique experiences, all of which contribute to the rise in visitor figures from this market year on year. Through increased exposure to residents of the UAE, we hope to welcome more guests to explore the island of Ireland and appreciate its rich culture, the friendliness of the people and varied attractions."
Key travel hubs include the iconic cities of Dublin, Cork, Galway, Belfast and Derry/Londonderry across the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. The island of Ireland has also made a name for itself through its up and coming attractions, including the draw of 'glamping' or luxury camping, and a number of festivals taking place throughout the year.
About dnata Travel:
dnata Travel is the longest-standing travel provider in the UAE. With more than 50 retail outlets across the GCC and a multi-language and currency website, dnata Travel offers travellers a comprehensive range of travel products, including flights, hotels, holidays, tours, cruises, car hire, travel insurance and visa services, at competitive rates alongside excellent service.
About Tourism Ireland:
Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.Tourism is the island of Ireland's largest indigenous industry; responsible for in excess of 4% of GNP in the Republic of Ireland and employing around 325,000 people across the island.
In 2018, we welcomed around 11.2 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland (+6% on 2017), delivering revenue of approximately €6.1 billion (+10%).
Tourism Ireland's international website is www.ireland.com, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted 20+ million visitors in 2018.
Since January 2018, Ireland is now visa-free for UAE Nationals, meaning easier travel and easier access to the island of Ireland.