Numbers staying in Airbnb accommodation in Dublin down almost 60% since pandemic

Numbers Staying In Airbnb Accommodation In Dublin Down Almost 60% Since Pandemic
New figures – with data collated from four major accommodation booking platforms: Airbnb, Booking, Expedia and TripAdvisor – have revealed that the number of bookings for short-term rental accommodation in Dublin last year decreased by almost 60 per cent compared to 2019 levels.
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Seán McCárthaigh

The number of nights spent by visitors in Airbnb-style accommodation in Dublin has fallen dramatically since pre-pandemic levels, according to a new report by the European Commission.

New figures – with data collated from four major accommodation booking platforms: Airbnb, Booking, Expedia and TripAdvisor – have revealed that the number of bookings for short-term rental accommodation in Dublin last year decreased by almost 60 per cent compared to 2019 levels.


It is the largest decline recorded by any major city destination for tourists within the EU, according to the latest figures.

The report shows a total of 1,063,270 guest nights in Dublin were booked on the four online platforms in 2022.

Although it represented a doubling of the number of overnight stays compared to 2021 which was badly affected by travel restrictions, last year’s total is almost 1.56 million fewer guest nights than in 2019, representing a decrease of 59.4 per cent.

The reduction in short-term rentals in Dublin is higher than the decrease recorded in other popular city destinations including Amsterdam (-54.5 per cent); Prague (-52.4 per cent); Berlin (-38.6 per cent); Budapest (-33.8 per cent) and Rome (-19.3 per cent).


The figures are likely to raise questions over the crackdown on short-term rental lettings introduced in Dublin in 2019 due to concerns about their impact on the availability of residential accommodation given the housing crisis in the capital.

Property owners within the administrative area of Dublin City Council must secure planning permission to provide short-term or holiday letting, unless it is their own home which they can rent for a maximum of 90 days.

Almost 1,600 properties in Dublin have been investigated for operating suspected illegal short-term lets since the new legislation was enacted.

At a national level, the total number of guest nights in Ireland booked on the four platforms last year was down 23.2% on pre-pandemic levels.


It was the 3rd biggest percentage drop in short-term lets by visitors among EU countries in 2022 after the Czech Republic and Hungary at a time when overall guest nights booked on online platforms across the EU were up almost 7 per cent on 2019 levels.

The figures show just over 5.3 million overnight stays were recorded across the Republic in 2022 compared to over 6.9 million in 2019.

Other regions to suffer a downturn in what the European Commission brands “platform tourism” included the south-west covering Cork and Kerry where guest nights were down 10.8 per cent to 1.2 million – a decrease of almost 146,000.

Overnight stays via booking platforms were also down 10.5 per cent to 988,000 in the west region which includes Galway and Mayo.


The number of guest nights in the mid-west and mid-east regions were effectively unchanged since 2019 at 486,000 and 316,000 respectively.

In contrast, the number of bookings were up in some parts of the country compared to pre-pandemic levels including the border region which was up 27.8 per cent to over 758,000 guest nights.

Other areas to record an increase were the south-east – up 11.5 per cent to just under 409,000 guest nights – and the midlands where overnight stays were up 10.1 per cent to 85,000.

Commenting on the latest figures, the Irish Tourism Industry Confederation said the overall downturn in guest nights booked on online platforms was not surprising given 2019 was a record year for Irish tourism, while some pandemic restrictions were still in place during the first quarter of 2022.


However, ITIC chief executive, Eoghan O’Mara Walsh, said the reduction in use of such accommodation in Dublin was “quite significant.”

“Irish tourism still has a hangover from Covid and overall visitor numbers are still a good bit down on 2019, so we’re a long way from a full recovery,” said Mr O’Mara Walsh.

He expressed concern about the availability of tourist accommodation given the reduction of supply of one-fifth of hotel accommodation around the country for “humanitarian needs” to provide housing for Ukrainian refugees and asylum seekers combined with the restrictions on short-term accommodation lettings in Dublin.

“It would seem foolish to compound the situation by reducing the stock of short-term tourist lets. At the moment, Irish tourism needs additional capacity and accommodation stock for visitors rather than less stock,” he added.

The four international websites for booking short-term rental accommodation have provided data to the European Commission as part of an agreement signed in March 2020.

The latest figures show the overall number of guest nights booked via the four platforms last year was 547 million – up 6.9 per cent from pre-pandemic levels of 512 million in 2019.

However, the report said the overall growth of platform tourism since pre-pandemic times was spread unevenly across Europe.

The highest growth rates in 2022, compared to 2019, were recorded in rural areas of Poland, France, Sweden and Germany but many city destinations including Dublin still lag behind pre-pandemic levels.

Booking rates were up in 12 of the 27 EU countries last year including France, Italy and Spain.

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