An international network of luxury travel agencies, Virtuoso, has revealed its list of “hottest” destinations for the upcoming 2016 summer travel season – and Ireland is at number six on the list.
The survey shows that European destinations are top of the bucket list for most upscale American and Canadian jet-setters this summer – with Italy, the UK, France, Spain and the Netherlands ahead of Ireland in the top ten. According to Virtuoso, data was sourced from its United States and Canadian-based travel agency members – whose turnover is $35 billion – and reflects future travel for June, July and August 2016.
The Virtuoso top ten comprises the most popular destinations for summer vacations based on future bookings, and include:
2. United Kingdom
8. South Africa
According to Virtuoso’s data, Ireland bookings are up 58%, with travelers flocking to Dublin and Galway in particular.
Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland’s Head of North America, said, “Virtuoso is one of the travel industry’s leading luxury networks, so the inclusion of Ireland at number six in this list is good news indeed. It’s another well-deserved accolade, which provides Tourism Ireland with a great hook to continue to promote the island of Ireland as a ‘must visit’ destination for American and Canadian travelers.
“2015 was another record-breaking year for Irish tourism from the United States and Canada; and the outlook for this year is also positive, with the most recent CSO figures for Q1 showing growth of +24.5% in visitors from North America. We are undertaking an extensive program of promotions throughout 2016, to keep the momentum going and build on that growth.”
Tourism is the island of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry; responsible for more than 4% of GNP in the Republic of Ireland and employing approximately 200,000 people. In 2015 Ireland welcomed more than 9.3 million overseas visitors to Ireland, delivering revenue of about €4.7 billion.