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18 Aug 2016

Tourism Ireland welcomes +8% growth in overseas visitors and +10% growth in revenue to Northern Ireland for January-March 2016

Strong +10% growth in overseas holiday visitors in Q1 2016 as Tourism Ireland rolls out its promotional programme around the world

Tourism Ireland has welcomed the figures for overseas visitors to Northern Ireland for the first quarter of 2016, issued by NISRA today. The figures confirm that we welcomed almost 400,000 overseas visitors in Q1, up +8% on Q1 2015. Holiday visitors grew by +10% and, more importantly for the economy, revenue from overseas visitors to Northern Ireland grew by +10% (£93 million).

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Figures published by NISRA today confirm that we welcomed almost 400,000 overseas visitors to Northern Ireland in the first quarter of 2016, an increase of +8% over the same three-month period in 2015. I am particularly pleased to see growth of +10% in holidaymakers from overseas, with a significant increase recorded from GB (+31%). Overseas visitors delivered more than £93 million for the local economy, up +10% on Q1 in 2015.

“Overseas tourism delivers about £454 million per year for the Northern Ireland economy, helping to sustain valuable employment in local communities. And, I am pleased to report that sentiment in general for 2016 from our tourism partners overseas (including tour operators and carriers), as well as our industry partners (including hoteliers and visitor attractions), is largely optimistic.”

Niall Gibbons continued: “Tourism Ireland is determined to ensure that tourism growth continues and we are rolling out an extensive programme of promotions throughout 2016, to highlight Northern Ireland around the world. Our activity includes a major focus on this special Year of Food and Drink. This spring, we joined forces with Game of Thrones creators HBO once again, leveraging the huge popularity of the TV series to showcase Northern Ireland. We are also highlighting iconic experiences like Titanic Belfast, the Giant’s Causeway and our unique National Trust properties; and we continue to promote Northern Ireland as a top golf destination.”

Since Tourism Ireland came into operation in 2002, more than 23 million overseas visitors have come to Northern Ireland, generating almost £5 billion for the economy.

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 2015, we welcomed about 1.9 million overseas visitors to Northern Ireland, delivering revenue of about £454 million.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, available in ten different language versions for over 30 individual markets around the world. In 2015, attracted about 16.6 million visitors.

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