Commenting on today’s figures from NISRA for overseas visitors to Northern Ireland for January to June 2015, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Today’s NISRA figures indicate that we welcomed 862,200 overseas visitors to Northern Ireland in the first half of 2015, an increase of +7% over the same six-month period in 2014. Growth was driven by visitors from our main markets of GB (+5%), Mainland Europe (+14%), North America (+11%) and from our new and developing markets (+6%).
“And I am pleased to report that sentiment expressed by our tourism partners around Northern Ireland suggests that growth from overseas continued into the high summer and autumn seasons – with major attractions like the Giant’s Causeway Visitor Centre reporting an increase in overseas visitors of +9%.”
Niall Gibbons continued: “This was a good first half performance and we are determined to ensure that tourism growth continues. Positive news on the air access front augurs well for continued growth over the coming months – with flights to Northern Ireland up +13% for this winter. Tourism Ireland has an extensive autumn campaign in full swing right now – aimed at boosting late-season travel to Northern Ireland from around the globe. Promoting the Causeway Coastal Route and driving holidays in Northern Ireland continues to be a major focus. We are highlighting new visitor experiences, including the refurbished Mount Stewart and the Gobbins Coastal Walk. We also continue to build awareness of Northern Ireland as a top business tourism destination, particularly highlighting the new facilities at the Waterfront Hall. And we continue to highlight iconic attractions such as Titanic Belfast and festivals like the Belfast International Arts Festival.”
Since Tourism Ireland was established, almost 23 million overseas visitors have come to Northern Ireland, generating approximately £4.7 billion for the economy, against a total investment in overseas marketing of £187 million. Northern Ireland’s share of overseas visitors to the island of Ireland is now 21%.
Notes To Editors