There was a strong resurgence in the domestic tourism market last year with the number of trips taken by Irish holidaymakers at home more than doubling to almost 13.3 million, according to a new report.
A breakdown of domestic travel by Irish holidaymakers published by Fáilte Ireland shows there was a 134 per cent increase in the number of trips during 2022 from almost 5.7 million in 2021.
The figures show there was a commensurate rise in the value of the domestic holiday market with expenditure by visitors up 127 per cent to €2.93 billion in 2022 from €1.29 billion the previous year.
Irish residents stayed an average of 3.0 nights per trip, with a total of 34.2 million overnight stays as the domestic tourism market bounced back with the easing of many restrictions imposed to stop the spread of the Covid-19 virus.
The figures, which are based on a combination of the household travel survey by the Central Statistics Office and estimates on spending by Fáilte Ireland, show that strong growth in the number of domestic tourists was experienced in all parts of the Republic last year with most areas seeing overall visitor levels more than doubling.
Visitor numbers were up threefold in Sligo, Roscommon/Longford, Louth/Monaghan and Laois/Offaly.
However, the strongest growth was recorded in Cavan/Leitrim where the number of trips almost quadrupled from 117,000 in 2021 to 465,000 last year as well as Kilkenny where visitor numbers surged by 292 per cent to 365,000.
Kilkenny had suffered the biggest downturn in domestic tourism during the Covid-19 pandemic according to figures published by Fáilte Ireland with visitor numbers down 76 per cent on pre-pandemic levels in 2021 with just 93,000 visitors.
Despite the strong rebound in visitor numbers across the country, Kilkenny remains just one of three counties where the overall number of tourists in 2022 failed to surpass 2019 levels – the last full tourism year before the pandemic.
Figures for domestic tourists visiting Kilkenny last year was still 22,000 below the total number who visited the county in 2019.
The other two counties still to fully recover from the impact of the pandemic are Galway which recorded 984,000 domestic tourists last year – down 93,000 on 2019 levels – and Waterford which with 422,000 visitors in 2022 was down 38,000 on pre-pandemic levels.
In contrast, Wexford recorded an extra 100,000 domestic tourists last year compared to 2019 with overall numbers totalling 926,000.
The report shows expenditure by domestic holidaymakers soared in every county during 2022 with the lowest growth level recorded in Donegal where revenue was still up 53 per cent to €158 million.
Income from domestic tourism more than doubled in a majority of counties with revenue up fivefold in both Roscommon/Longford to €97 million and Laois/Offaly to €60 million.
Despite the increased spending levels, most areas witnessed a decrease in the average length of stay such as Donegal where average trips fell from 5 nights in 2021 to 3.4 nights last year.
However, some counties bucked the general trend by recording increases in the average length of stay including Laois/Offaly, Meath, Louth/Monaghan and Wexford.
The figures show the longest holidays are spent in Donegal (3.4 nights on average per trip), Wexford (3.3), Roscommon/Longford (3.2) and Kerry, Clare and Waterford (all 3.0 nights).
Dublin remains the most popular destination for domestic breaks with more than 1.86 million visits from Irish holidaymakers last year, generating €419m in revenue.
Cork is the second-largest domestic holiday market with almost 1.6 million visitors in 2022 and associated expenditure of €336 million
Kerry reinforced its status as the third most popular destination for domestic holidaymakers with 1.2 million trips worth an estimated €303 million.