Chalkmarks: Ireland gears up for a Brexit bonanza of UK travellers in 2021

It’s a short ferry ride across the Irish sea, there’s wide-open spaces, there’s stew, there’s Guinness, and best of all there’ll be no hold-ups at the borders!

IRELAND is expecting a “big whoosh” of British travellers in the New Year, post-Brexit and post-pandemic.

As research shows that UK holidaymakers plan to visit countries close to home once Covid restrictions lift and with EU border changes causing uncertainty on the continent, Ireland ranks as the Number One destination for Brits in 2021.

Niall Gibbons, CEO for Tourism Ireland, said: “I think there’s going to be a big whoosh of travel in 2021 as people go out to enjoy themselves post-pandemic and Ireland is in that space.”

While visitors to Europe can expect long queues from 1st January when they enter the Schengen zone as non-EU members, travellers will face no hold-ups at the borders to Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Speaking at a European Tourism Association industry forum, Mr Gibbons confirmed that the Common Travel Area, which allows freedom of movement, would remain.

He said: “It’s important we try to take the hassle out of travel. The last thing you want is your most important customer unsure or uncertain.  

“We are assured that regardless of the outcome of the talks in Brexit the Common Travel Area that exists between the UK and Ireland that has been underpinned by legislation and will continue as it has done since 1923, which means that you can travel the UK and Ireland as if it’s one country for travel purposes and that’s been a key message for us during the last 18 months.”

The North and the Republic are already favourites for UK travellers who make up 40 per cent of Ireland’s annual visitors.

Known for its stunning mountain scenery and unspoiled coastlines, the entire Emerald Isle will appeal to those wanting to be outdoors and explore nature.

For a bucket list challenge, the Ireland Way, is a 1,000km (620mile) trail between Beara Peninsula in County Cork (Republic) and Ballycastle, County Antrim (N.Ireland).

For culture lovers, the city of Galway has had its European Capital of Culture title extended until the end of March 2021.

Mr Gibbons added: “For Ireland we are going to be well positioned post Covid because what our current Covid research is telling us – in all our key markets – is what people are doing post pandemic is looking to visit familiar destinations – places that are closer to home and looking to connect with family and friends. And Ireland ranks Number One in Great Britain in terms of destinations that people will travel to because it’s a place they feel comfortable, secure – same language, drive on the same side of the road – and all those things we sometimes take for granted. 

“I think we will see a strong rebound. But I think it will be at least three years before we see things coming back to pre-Covid levels.”

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