Air and sea travellers in and out of Ireland shot up dramatically in August but there remains a deficit of 2m passengers compared to the same month a year ago.
According to figures from the Central Statistics Office (CSO), some 362,600 passengers arrived in Ireland from overseas in August, an increase of just under 60% in July.
Some 328,200 passengers left Ireland to go abroad in August, an increase of just over 19% in July, the figures showed.
However, overseas travel remained dramatically lower than in August 2019, when more than 2m passengers arrived and departed Ireland, the CSO said.
Statistician Gregg Patrick said that the August 2020 statistics show that continental routes contributed most to the passenger traffic, as opposed to those to and from Britain.
He said: “Some 228,700 passengers arrived on continental routes and 186,000 passengers departed on continental routes. By way of contrast, 112,600 passengers arrived on cross-channel routes and 125,400 passengers departed on cross-channel routes.”
Flights to and from the US accounted for very little numbers, he said, with 11,600 passengers arriving on transatlantic routes and 7,800 passengers departing.
He said that apart from Britain, the most important routing countries for arrivals in August 2020 were Spain with 33,600, Poland with 31,700, and Italy with 27,300.
These three routing countries were also the most important for departures after Britain, albeit in differing order with Poland on 23,900, Italy on 23,300, and Spain on 22,800, Mr Patrick said.
“When we look at the year-to-date picture, January to August 2020, the statistics show 3.8m overseas passengers travelled to and from Ireland. This compares to almost 14m overseas passengers in the same period on 2019, a decrease of almost 73%.
“This illustrates the continuing and dramatic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on international travel to and from Ireland,” he said.
Arrivals comprise all persons disembarking at Cork, Dublin, Galway, Kerry, Knock, and Shannon airports, as well as Dublin, Dun Laoghaire, Ringaskiddy, and Rosslare seaports, from international destinations.
In August 2020, there were 13,000 transfer passengers handled by Dublin Airport. This compares to 223,000 in August 2019, a decrease of 94.2%.
Transfer passengers are those who make a stop at an airport without any particular purpose other than being en route to another destination, the CSO said.