Imagine Holidays

One significant global action taken during the Covid19 response has been the grounding of airplanes. As well as causing major problems for people stranded abroad, it has messed up lots of our holiday plans. The Irish tourism industry has put a call out for Irish people to holiday in Ireland and help make up the shortfall in their income for 2020.

Let’s have a look at the tourism trade in Ireland for the 3rd quarter of 2019. Irish people spent €2.720 billion on holidays abroad for those 3 months. Tourists coming to Ireland spent €1.824 billion in Ireland at the same time. Imagine if we spent that money in Ireland instead. This is from the RTE website.

Spending by Irish people abroad rose from €2.415 billion in the third quarter of 2018 to €2.720 billion in this year’s third quarter.

When fares are excluded, the CSO said that overseas tourism and travel expenditure exclusive grew by 15.1%, from €1.931 billion to a record €2.223 billion. 

Meanwhile, earnings from visitors here increased by 0.9% from €2.425 billion to €2.448 billion. 

When fares are excluded, total expenditure decreased by 0.4% from €1.832 billion to €1.824 billion, the CSO added.

At the moment flying costs a lot less than it should given it’s environmental impact. However it looks more and more likely that it will be forced to pay it’s true cost in the not too distant future. On February 27th 2020, a UK Court of Appeal ruled that the British Government’s planned expansion at Heathrow was illegal on climate change grounds. See An Taisce press release here. Aviation kerosene is still exempt from tax but that will probably change in the coming year, especially if the industry seeks a bail out because of the pandemic. The squeeze on flying has started.

Is that really such a bad thing? How have you survived Covid19 measures without flying? Are you motivated to support the Irish economy? In the hope that we can even afford holidays!

If we are serious about climate action perhaps we could continue the trend of not flying. Shipping is not much better by the way! I have considered sail and rail across to the UK and on into Paris but it seems like a lot of trouble for a holiday with 3 kids in tow.

I absolutely loved my sun holidays but I have been holidaying in Ireland mostly during the past 12 years. Things have definitely improved and there is much more for families now. Granted the sun is not guaranteed but with the anticipated climate impacts who knows what lies ahead for any country. Once I have a good bed, warm pool, jacuzzi and someone else handing me dinner I’m pretty happy. I actually went camping for a couple of years and found the activities excellent for the kids. Here’s the Camping Ireland website.

How come so many other people want to come to Ireland? Is there something we’re not getting? I see tourists here in raincoats, with rucksacks, picnics, hiking boots, umbrellas, bicycles and everything to make life in Ireland easier. They appear better prepared for Ireland than we are.

Failte Ireland has done a lot of work improving the visitor experience, doing their best so that people have great holidays they can remember. Maybe it is time that we considered it ourselves. Now that we have lived through unexpected changes to our holidays can we adopt those changes forever? We must not return to business as usual. Have a chat with your family and friends now to see how you might plan your holidays to help the environment and support the Irish economy.

Theresa O’Donohoe

27 March 2020


Published by Theresa OD

Change maker and mother of 5 living in the west of Ireland

4 thoughts on “Imagine Holidays

  1. When I was a kid my family were richer than the average kids. We nearly always had cars which was when a car cost 1/10th. of the price of a house. Cars were extremely expensive then. The car cost meant spending more on travel and less on holidays so we camped in the car almost every year around Ireland. Camping is super and kids love it though parents complain about the hard ground and wet tents. Then, one great year! We went camping in France with the car and the ferry (SUPER!) . Now everyone flies and jets too not prop planes which are much less damaging and the take jets to London or France which is ridiculous. We had to stop this; I thank the virus for letting us see this

  2. Hey Theresa,

    Anyone under 40 in Ireland never thought anything of flying to Europe or the UK for a *weekend*! A weekend in a jet to go drinking in Budapest, to visit family in the UK, to see art and eat well in Paris or Lyon. Just flying there and back in the plane alone is 1/5 of a Tonne of CO2 (per person in Economy). Forget recycling, a small car or no car, using bikes etc… If you fly on a short hop holiday in a jet you might as well go shopping in a Hummer or a Mercedes truck and throw all of your plastic in the sea.

    When I was a kid we camped everywhere every year, earlier we shared a car, later my dad had his own ; always the same giant tent made from Cotton which weighed a tonne. It was great, no hotels, no camp sites often, the wilds, a field with cows … I loved it though it was often cold and wet just a few minutes of sunshine made things super.

    Bring back holidays in Ireland and drop the prices of hotels by at least 1/2 and all will be fine — the tourism industry is dying of it’s own weight (250 euros a night in a shitty hotel in Dublin was never sustainable). Let’s learn a little about our own country first before we jump on a flight to the Bahamas for a wedding or the US to go shopping or play golf (F.F.S. it is not like we don’t have golf courses in Ireland and they’re getting cheaper all the time) — none of this was ever Kosher and it should never have happened.

    Enjoy the island!
    PS: Don’t me stared on cruise traffic (the coffin ships of out time)

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