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23 Oct 2014

Tourism Ireland welcomes growth of +19% in overseas holidaymakers to Northern Ireland for January-June 2014

Strong growth of +31% in GB holidaymakers for first half of 2014

Welcoming the figures for overseas visitors to Northern Ireland for the first half of 2014, issued by NISRA today, Brian Ambrose, Chairman of Tourism Ireland, said:

“Figures published by NISRA today show that overseas visitors to Northern Ireland increased by +5% for the first half of 2014 and overseas holidaymakers increased by +19%, compared with the same six-month period in 2013. I am particularly pleased to see growth of +31% in GB holidaymakers.

“Visitor numbers from North America for the first half of 2014 are also very encouraging – +29% in all North American visitors and +29% in holidaymakers. I am also very pleased to see growth in revenue for the Northern Ireland economy from all overseas visitors (+7%).”

Brian Ambrose continued:

“And I am also delighted to report that sentiment expressed by our industry partners suggests growth from overseas has continued into the summer months, with major attractions like Titanic Belfast reporting significant increases in overseas visitors. Tourism Ireland has been rolling out an extensive promotional programme throughout 2014, showcasing Northern Ireland around the world to prospective holidaymakers. Upcoming promotions, including a significant presence – with 25 Northern Ireland partners – at World Travel Market in London next month will help to keep this momentum going and deliver further success in 2015 and beyond. We will also be working hard to promote the new British-Irish Visa Scheme in China and India, with the message that the island of Ireland is very much open for business and visitors are most welcome to our shores.”

Tourism Ireland’s focus in the early part of this year was on highlighting the Grande Partenza of the Giro d’Italia. The organisation also joined forces with Game of Thrones creators HBO, on a ground-breaking advertising and social media campaign in nine markets, leveraging the incredible success of Game of Thrones and its strong associations with Northern Ireland. And, with the biggest Northern Ireland team ever competing in this summer’s Commonwealth Games, Tourism Ireland took every opportunity to maximise the potential of the Games for tourism to Northern Ireland.

Tourism Ireland continues to target people of Ulster Scots descent; most recently, Tourism Ireland – together with a group of Northern Ireland ‘ambassadors’ – undertook a promotional blitz in the southern states of Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee, which included a significant presence at last weekend’s Stone Mountain Highland Games, north-east of Atlanta. Tourism Ireland also highlights the St Patrick’s Trail, the Causeway Coastal Route and driving holidays to Northern Ireland, as well as iconic experiences all over Northern Ireland – including Titanic Belfast, the Giant’s Causeway and our unique National Trust properties. And Tourism Ireland continues to promote Northern Ireland as a top golf destination and the ‘Home of Champions’, capitalising on the global success of our golfers, including Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke.

  Total - All Markets GB               North America Mainland Europe Other Areas

Summary Performance - H1 2014 v H1 2013

Total O/S Visitors +5% +3% +29% +2% +8%
Holiday Visitors +19% +31% +29% -6% +7%
Revenue from O/S Visitors +7% +9% +6% -3% +13%

Notes To Editors

  • Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
  • Tourism is responsible for in excess of 5.2% of GDP in Northern Ireland and supports approximately 43,000 jobs.
  • In 2014, Tourism Ireland estimates that almost 1.8 million overseas visitors came to Northern Ireland, delivering revenue of approximately £508 million.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, available in ten different language versions for 30+ markets around the world this year.