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23 Aug 2018

Tourism Ireland comment on overseas visitor figures to Northern Ireland for January-March 2018

Tourism Ireland has commented on the figures for overseas visitors to Northern Ireland for the first quarter of 2018, issued by NISRA (Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency) today. The figures confirm that we welcomed almost 380,000 overseas visitors in Q1, down -6% on Q1 2017. However, revenue from overseas visitors to Northern Ireland grew by +3% (over £98 million).

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Figures published by NISRA today confirm that we welcomed almost 380,000 overseas visitors to Northern Ireland in the first quarter of 2018. While overseas visitor numbers are down for Q1, I am pleased to note that spend by overseas visitors is up +3% on the first three months in 2017. 

“Today’s figures align with feedback we received from our industry partners in Northern Ireland about the first quarter. However, I am pleased to report that sentiment in general for 2018 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.”

Overseas tourism delivers about £566 million per year for the Northern Ireland economy, helping to sustain over 61,000 jobs in local communities. 

Niall Gibbons continued: “Tourism Ireland is rolling out an extensive programme of promotions throughout 2018, to highlight Northern Ireland around the world. We continue to create ‘stand out’ for Northern Ireland, highlighting attractions and experiences like Titanic Belfast, the Causeway Coastal Route and our National Trust properties; and to leverage our connection with Game of Thrones. Tourism Ireland’s activity also includes a focus on golf and the fact that Royal Portrush will host The Open in 2019. We are committed to ensuring that Northern Ireland continues to increase its share of the global travel business.” 

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 61,300 jobs.
  • In 2017, we welcomed 2.175 million overseas visitors to Northern Ireland, delivering revenue of £566 million. 
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted around 19.3 million visitors in 2017.