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19 Oct 2017

Tourism Ireland welcomes +4% growth in overseas visitors and +11% growth in revenue to Northern Ireland for January-June 2017

Strong +8% growth in overseas holiday visitors in H1 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 half of 2017, issued by NISRA (Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency) today. The figures confirm that we welcomed 973,000 overseas visitors in H1, up +4% on H1 2016. Holiday visitors grew by +8%, and, more importantly for the economy, revenue from overseas visitors to Northern Ireland grew by +11% (£255+ million).

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Figures published by NISRA today confirm that we welcomed 973,000 overseas visitors to Northern Ireland in the first half of 2017, an increase of +4% over the same six-month period in 2016. I am particularly pleased to see growth of +8% in holidaymakers from overseas, with significant increases recorded by North America (+8%), Mainland Europe (+13%) and Australia and Developing Markets (+34%). Overseas visitors delivered more than £255 million for the local economy, up +11% on H1 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), suggests that growth from overseas continued into the high summer and autumn seasons.”

Niall Gibbons continued: “This was a good first half performance. We’ve been rolling out an extensive programme of promotions throughout 2017 to highlight Northern Ireland around the world – leveraging our connection with Game of Thrones and showcasing iconic experiences like Titanic Belfast, the Giant’s Causeway and our unique National Trust properties. We also 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.” 

Since Tourism Ireland came into operation in 2002, some 26 million overseas visitors have come to Northern Ireland, generating £5.75 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.