Business

Recording breaking numbers of tourists visit the north and spend £614m

Titanic Belfast remains one of the most popular attractions in the North.
Paul Ainsworth

New tourism figures show that 2016 had the highest number of overnight visits to the North since records began.

The Northern Ireland Annual Tourism Statistics show that in 2016 there was an estimated 2.6 million overnight trips here by external visitors – the highest ever figure and a 12 percent increase from 2015.

It is estimated those visitors spent £614 million during their stay.

The data also shows that around two million overnight stays in the North were enjoyed by NI residents vacationing at home, and the income earned from these trips stands at around £237 million.

Meanwhile, the number of cruise ships docking at the North's ports increased in 2016 to 93 - up 26 from the previous year.

Welcoming the findings, CEO of Tourism Ireland Niall Gibbons said plans were underway to build on the growth.

“We are highlighting iconic experiences like Titanic Belfast, the Giant's Causeway and our unique National Trust properties,” he said.

“And, once again, we will join forces with Game of Thrones creators HBO this summer, leveraging the huge popularity of the TV series to showcase Northern Ireland.

“Tourism Ireland will leverage the tourism benefits of the semi-finals and final of the Women's Rugby World Cup, which will take place in Belfast in August. Our activity also includes a focus on golf and we're taking every opportunity to highlight the 2017 Irish Open at Portstewart and the fact that Royal Portrush will host The Open in 2019.”

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