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19 Jan 2017

Tourism Ireland welcomes +8% growth in overseas visitors and +17% growth in revenue to Northern Ireland for January-September 2016

Strong +11% growth in overseas holiday visitors for first nine months of 2016

Tourism Ireland has welcomed the figures for overseas visitors to Northern Ireland for the first nine months of 2016, issued by NISRA today. The figures confirm that we welcomed more than 1.6 million overseas visitors between January and September, up +8% on the same period in 2015. Holiday visitors grew by +11% and, more importantly for the economy, revenue from overseas visitors to Northern Ireland grew by +17% (almost £436 million).

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Figures published by NISRA today confirm that we welcomed more than 1.6 million overseas visitors to Northern Ireland during the January to September period in 2016, an increase of +8% over the same nine-month period in 2015. Visitor numbers from GB grew by +5%, from North America by +13% and from Mainland Europe by +14%. Overseas holidaymakers increased by +11%, with particularly strong growth in holidaymakers from Mainland Europe (+19%). Overseas visitors delivered almost £436 million for the local economy, up +17%; revenue from visitors from North America grew by an exceptional +48%.”

Tourism Ireland’s targets for 2017 will see Northern Ireland welcome 2.15 million visitors, representing further growth of +3.4% over 2016, delivering about £557 million (+5.6%) to the Northern Ireland economy. 

Niall Gibbons continued: “We’re kicking off our promotional programme for 2017 in a position of some strength, based on the success of 2016. Tourism Ireland will create ‘stand out’ for Northern Ireland around the world, highlighting iconic experiences like Titanic Belfast and the Causeway Coastal Route. We will continue our successful partnership with HBO, to highlight Northern Ireland – through the exciting events of Game of Thrones – on the global stage. 

“Priority markets include GB, Mainland Europe, North America, and Australia and Developing Markets. We will continue to monitor the implications of Brexit on outbound travel from GB. We are committed to ensuring that Northern Ireland continues to increase its share of the global travel business.” 

Overseas tourism delivers about £527 million per year for the Northern Ireland economy, helping to sustain over 43,000 jobs in local communities. Since Tourism Ireland was established, 25.3 million overseas visitors have come to Northern Ireland (2012-2016), generating approximately £5.6 billion for the economy. 

Notes To Editors