Spike in air travel as appetite grows for trips abroad 

The launch of the EU digital Covid certificate led to a spike in numbers travelling in July, while an international survey has shown Irish people are increasingly emboldened about going abroad.

Data from the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed that in July, there were 380,700 overseas passenger arrivals and 428,600 overseas passenger departures, a 138% and 115% rise respectively on June.

Despite enthusiasm returning in earnest among Irish holidaymakers heading to sunnier climes abroad, there is still some way to go before hitting pre-pandemic numbers, the data show.

For every overseas traveller in July 2021, there were over five in pre-pandemic July 2019, when there were 2,225,900 arrivals and 2,183,900 departures, the CSO said.

Separately, a third of Irish adults are planning to take at least one trip in the next three months, up from 28% a month ago, according to Finder’s Travel Index.

The survey, which has received more than 170,000 responses in 19 countries, found that the appetite for domestic travel in the next three months has stalled, as the appetite for foreign travel grows.

Passengers at departures in Dublin airport. Picture: Colin Keegan/Collins Dublin

Finder.com’s August survey found 17% of Irish adults plan to take an overseas trip in the next three months, up from 12% in the July survey.

Some 9% are planning to travel internationally in September, with 5% in October and 4% in November.

Finder’s head of consumer research, Graham Cooke, says the number of people planning to travel overseas correlates with restrictions easing.

“We’re seeing an uptick in the number of people planning to travel abroad since the loosening of travel restrictions on July 19. We expect to see international travel plans continue to grow month on month as people make up for lost time, and more countries open their borders to Ireland.

“There have been reports that Irish citizens may soon be able to visit the US, which is expected to ease travel restrictions as soon as September 6, and we can expect this to feed into the demand for more overseas travel.”

The fate of EU citizens being greenlit to fly to the US is still up in the air, with the Biden Administration offering no indication in recent weeks of any date for it be lifted, despite the September 6 speculation.

The lack of any progress on the lifting of the ban on EU travellers has prompted a number of airlines to scale back their schedules for the coming months, with late November or even the New Year being seen as more realistic. 

It is also said to be key in the EU’s decision to rescind the greenlight given to US visitors to Europe this week. Having opened to US visitors in June, EU officials are to suggest to member states that they should re-introduce restrictions.

By contrast, Canada is set to allow international visitors back in from September 7, once fully vaccinated.

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