Another 33 percent of visitors from the region hail from Saudi Arabia
Visitors from the UAE account for approximately 65 percent of all Middle Eastern visitors to Ireland, according to Siobhan McManamy, Tourism Ireland’s Director of Markets.
Speaking to Arabian Business, McManamy said that although it does not keep statistics on a country-by-country basis, Tourism Ireland estimates that about 71,000 visitors from the Middle East visited Ireland in 2017, a 1 percent increase from the previous year.
Figures for 2018 are not yet available, but are expected to be higher.
“The UAE is our largest Middle Eastern market, making up approximately 65 percent of the segment,” she said. “What we’re hearing from trade partners and airlines about 2018’s performance is extremely positive, signifying all-round growth and increase in travellers from the UAE.”
McManamy said that Tourism Ireland attributes the growth “quite significantly” to the lifting of visa requirements for Emiratis at the beginning of 2018.
According to statistics from Emirates, there was a 17 percent year-on-year increase in business coming from the UAE into Ireland through the airline, compared to a 14 percent year-on-year increase from Etihad through the Abu Dhabi route.
Recently, dnata Travel also announced that there was a 63.5 percent increase in year-on-year travel from the UAE to Ireland.
Of the total number of Middle East visitors to Ireland, another 33 percent come from Saudi Arabia, while 2 percent come from the rest of the region.
The figures, however, represent only a fraction of the record 11.2 million visitors who travelled to the country in 2018.
“While the numbers are small in proportion, the times that they travel and the revenue generated from Middle Eastern based visitors is substantial,” McManamy added. “So much so that we’ve just implemented a new dedicated team in Ireland that is tasked with looking for opportunities in new prospective markets. The Middle East certainly holds a number of countries that will be key for our future plans.”
In the near future, McManamy said that a “big focus will be placed on doing more to promote the numerous luxury experiences that Ireland offers, which we know resonates extremely well with the UAE market.”
“Our team is also working on developing specific themes and itineraries to attract more visitors, and we’ll continue to host events on the island that have strong ties with the UAE, like the annual Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby and the Dublin Arabic Film Festival.”