Visa-free travel sees big increase in UAE visitors to Ireland

Ireland is home to a number of filming locations, such as Skellig Michael featured in Star Wars and Game of Thrones
Visa-free travel sees big increase in UAE visitors to Ireland
Portmagee, Co Kerry, a departure point for tourists travelling to visit Skellig Michael.
By Staff writer
Sun 03 Feb 2019 12:52 PM

Visitor numbers to Ireland from the UAE have soared 63.5% in the past year, according to Dnata Travel.

Ireland introduced visa-free travel for Emiratis to Ireland in early 2018, leading to a significant increase in tourists.

Dnata Travel said there was a 55% increase in travel arrangements made within 14 days in advance of travelling, and a 9% increase in bookings made within three days of travel.

The Dubai-based travel firm – a subsidiary of Emirates Group - said Dublin was the most popular destination for GCC travellers to stay, showing an 80% increase in room night bookings, while counties Cork, Galway and Kerry have also shown growth in visitor numbers. New destinations with increased levels of interest in 2018 included Kilkenny, Donegal and Limerick.

Ireland is also home to a number of filming locations, such as Skellig Michael featured in Star Wars, and the majority of the filming locations for the acclaimed television show, Game of Thrones, located in Northern Ireland.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said visa-free travel was a historic step for Ireland-Emirati relations.

“The draw of Ireland for GCC travellers was undeniable last year, and we’re proud to welcome more visitors to our country every year,” he said.

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