Visit Belfast raises economic forecast for tourism sector in 2022

Visit Belfast chief executive Gerry Lennon (centre) with chair Kathryn Thomson and travel journalist Simon Calder at the launch of the organisation's new marketing plans,

RECOVERY in the tourism sector has prompted Visit Belfast to raise its economic forecast for 2022.

The destination management and marketing body expects tourism to generate £97 million for the Belfast city region this year.

The figure is still 39 per cent down on the £135m recorded in 2019.

Visit Belfast launched a three-year tourism recovery plan last year to rebuild the city’s tourism economy with the aim of reaching a £150m economic return by 2025.

While airlines and tourism operators have projected a significant upturn in activity this summer, consumer confidence has shown signs of waning due to the steep rise in the cost of living.

Visit Belfast Chair Kathryn Thomson said the body remains upbeat on the sector’s prospects this year.

“Despite current challenges, Visit Belfast remains optimistic that Belfast’s resilient tourism sector will continue to move towards full recovery,” she said.

Belfast's tourism sector benefited from strong visitor numbers from Britain and around the island Ireland last year, but largely missed out on crucial business events and international visits.

Visit Belfast is aiming to attract 144 cruise visits this year, which could bring in an estimated 345,000 visitors.

The body is also hoping the return of major business events will attract around 30,000 delegates and generate £40m.

Visit Belfast chief executive Gerry Lennon said: “Our industry has a track record for its resilience and determination to succeed against the odds.

“I’m therefore confident that the outlook for the year ahead is positive and Visit Belfast will play a key role in ensuring city tourism returns to the record levels enjoyed in 2019.”

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