Northern Ireland news

Tourism more than doubled in north since Good Friday Agreement, figures show

Titanic Belfast is among attractions to have brought significant numbers of visitors to the north, Tourism NI has said
Paul Ainsworth

TOURISM in the north has more than doubled in the 25 years since the Good Friday Agreement, new figures have revealed.

Visits to tourist attractions have risen from 7.5 million in 1998 to 16.5 million, with holiday spending by visitors increasing 834 percent to £299m.

The new data from Tourism NI also reveals domestic 'staycations' by people living in the north have also jumped by 179 percent in the years since the Good Friday Agreement was signed, amounting to a financial spend rise from £63m in 1998 to £234 million.

A total of 75 percent of the north's 141 hotels have been built or refurbished since the years since the agreement, with 4,532 extra hotel bedrooms available following a £1 billion investment in the hotel sector.

Attractions that have brought in visitors include Titanic Belfast and the Game of Thrones Official Tour.

The data was released to coincide with Tourism NI chair Ellvena Graham addressing this week's Agreement 25 conference at Queen's University.

"The increase in visitors to the region since the Good Friday Agreement is testament to the hard work and vision of many people from across Northern Ireland and further afield," she said.

"And we should be proud of the huge increase in spend by out of state holiday visitors since 1998 - a phenomenal achievement. We’ve also seen major investment in our tourism attractions with more exciting plans in the pipeline.”