Tourism NI has welcomed today’s release of positive performance figures for January to December 2018 showing an average £2.7 million spend per day last year.
Figures from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) estimate that tourism generated 5 million trips from all markets, an increase of 3%, and £968 million revenue, £42 million more than 2017, which is an increase of 5%. Included in these figures are 2.8 million external visitors who contributed £669 million to the economy.
A record breaking 591,000 trips were taken by Republic of Ireland residents, an estimated increase of 23%, while expenditure by RoI visitors rose by 20% to over £108 million. Holiday trips by RoI residents grew by 7%.
Strong growth was evident for holiday trips by GB and overseas visitors which grew by 12%. Business trips from all markets rose by 21%.
While the number of trips taken by Northern Ireland residents remained unchanged, domestic trips contributed almost £300 million to the local economy, 11% more than in 2017. Visits to headline visitor attractions, including Titanic Belfast and the Giants Causeway, grew by 5% while visits by cruise ships grew by 14% last year.
Commenting on the results Tourism NI chief executive John McGrillen said; “Latest tourism performance figures show that our closer to home markets are driving growth in visitor expenditure. The partnership marketing approach with visitor attractions and accommodation providers that Tourism NI has taken in the Republic of Ireland market, implemented as part of a recent taskforce review, has contributed to those visitors spending significantly more. At the same time we are attracting increasing numbers of visitors from Great Britain and overseas, creating more opportunities for our local industry to grow and invest in the tourism sector”.
“As we plan ahead for the next decade of growth, our ambition would be to double the value of tourism to £2 billion per year by 2030. This will require us to have a laser like focus on key markets and market segments. It will also require further investment in new attractions and experiences and in developing the skills which the industry needs to succeed in the future.”