Business

Record visitor numbers flock to Titanic Belfast

Terence Brannigan, Tourism NI chairman and Titanic Belfast chief executive Tim Husbands outside the popular tourist attraction. Titanic Belfast is experiencing its busiest year yet with an overall 22 per cent increase in footfall.
Gareth McKeown

WORLD leading tourist attraction Titanic Belfast has reported its busiest ever summer, with over 5,000 visitors through the doors on one August day alone.

Since opening in 2012 Titanic has gone from strength to strength, with the latest visitor number revealing the attraction is experiencing its most successful year to date with an overall 22 per cent increase in footfall.

The centre has welcomed more than four million visitors from over 145 countries over the past five years, while growth has increased year-on-year in all key markets. So far 2017 has seen a 31 per cent increase in visitors from England and 16 per cent from the Republic of Ireland.

The figures also show that August was the best month on record, with over 5,000 people visiting the Queen's Quay site on August 6, a new milestone for the heritage centre.

Titanic Belfast chief executive Tim Husbands said the weak pound has helped contribute to the record visitor numbers.

'The sharp drop in the value of the pound since last summer's Brexit vote has made Northern Ireland a more attractive destination. As well as a significant rise in visitors from the Republic of Ireland, we've also benefited from increases in visitors from the UK and local visitors who are holidaying more at home and are looking for a unique experience in a reassuring environment."

"The increase in Republic of Ireland visitors is reflective of the strong growth in Republic of Ireland trips and spend in Northern Ireland generally. Being named the World's Leading Visitor Attraction at the World Travel Awards has drawn additional visitors to Titanic Belfast this year, many of whom combined their stay with a visit to the Game of Thrones filming locations and also a trip to natural attractions like the Giant's Causeway. We've also seen a huge increase in cruise ships into Belfast, with a record breaking number of ships docking in Northern Ireland this year. "

Tourism NI chairman Terence Brannigan praised Titanic for the "transformative" effect it has had on the local tourism market.

"Titanic Belfast has been an important catalyst for investment in tourism across Belfast and beyond and has helped deliver the impressive levels of hotel growth that we are seeing today across the city. I commend the work of Tim Husbands and his team and congratulate them on setting such high standards for our industry'.

In the first three years alone Titanic Belfast has generated £105 million in additional tourism spend for the Northern Ireland economy, sustaining around 893 jobs each year in the wider economy.

Since opening in 2012, it has also hosted over 1,500 business and leisure events including Queen Elizabeth's Jubilee lunch, G8 Summit Reception, BBC Sports Personality of the Year and The World Police and Fire Games International Conference.

It has also welcomed many VIP guests including the Queen, Presidential candidate and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Titanic director James Cameron.

The success of Titanic Belfast has also supported hotel and office development in the Titanic Quarter. Just last week the 119-room Titanic Hotel opened its doors adjacent to the popular tourist attraction.

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