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17 Aug 2017

Tourism Ireland welcomes +8% growth in overseas visitors and +7% growth in revenue to Northern Ireland for January-March 2017

Strong +23% growth in overseas holiday visitors in Q1 2017 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 2017, issued by NISRA (Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency) today. The figures confirm that we welcomed almost 407,000 overseas visitors in Q1, up +8% on Q1 2016. Holiday visitors grew by +23%, and, more importantly for the economy, revenue from overseas visitors to Northern Ireland grew by +7% (£98+ million).

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Figures published by NISRA today confirm that we welcomed almost 407,000 overseas visitors to Northern Ireland in the first quarter of 2017, an increase of +8% over the same three-month period in 2016. I am particularly pleased to see growth of +23% in holidaymakers from overseas, with significant increases recorded from GB (+23%), North America (+31%) and Mainland Europe (+32%). Overseas visitors delivered more than £98 million for the local economy, up +7% on Q1 in 2016.

“Overseas tourism delivers about £543 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 2017 from our tourism partners overseas (including tour operators and carriers), as well as our industry partners here at home (including hoteliers and visitor attractions), is largely optimistic.”

Niall Gibbons continued: “Tourism Ireland is determined to ensure that growth continues and we are rolling out an extensive programme of promotions throughout 2017, to highlight Northern Ireland around the world. Our Game of Thrones campaign is under way in 12 different markets right now, 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, in particular the fact that the 148th Open is set to take place at Royal Portrush in 2019. Tourism Ireland has also been leveraging the tourism benefits of the Women’s Rugby World Cup, with the finals taking place in Belfast next week.”

Since Tourism Ireland came into operation in 2002, some 25.3 million overseas visitors have come to Northern Ireland, generating £5.5 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 61,300 jobs.
  • In 2016, we welcomed a record 2.1 million overseas visitors to Northern Ireland, delivering revenue of over £543 million.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted about 19.37 million visitors in 2016.