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01 Feb 2018

Tourism Ireland welcomes +4% growth in overseas visitors and +12% growth in revenue to Northern Ireland for January-September 2017

Positive +6% growth in overseas holiday visitors for first nine months of 2017

Tourism Ireland has welcomed the figures for overseas visitors to Northern Ireland for the first nine months of 2017, issued by NISRA (Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency) today. The figures confirm that we welcomed almost 1.7 million overseas visitors between January and September – up +4% (almost 70,000 additional overseas visitors) on the same period in 2016. Holiday visitors grew by +6%, and, more importantly for the economy, revenue from overseas visitors to Northern Ireland grew by +12% (almost £458 million).

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Figures published by NISRA today confirm that we welcomed almost 1.7 million overseas visitors to Northern Ireland during the January to September period in 2017, an increase of +4% over the same nine-month period in 2016. I am particularly pleased to see growth of +6% in holidaymakers from overseas, with significant increases recorded from GB (+4%), North America (+10%) and Australia and Developing Markets (+26%). Overseas visitors delivered almost £458 million for the local economy, up + 12%.

In 2018, Tourism Ireland aims to build on the performance of 2017 – growing overseas tourism revenue to £623 million (+6%), driven by more than 2.3 million overseas visitors.

Niall Gibbons continued: “We’re kicking off our promotional programme for 2018 in a position of some strength, based on the success of 2017. Tourism Ireland will create ‘stand out’ for Northern Ireland around the world, highlighting attractions and experiences like Titanic Belfast, the Causeway Coastal Route and our National Trust properties. We will continue to leverage our connection with Game of Thrones and we will also 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. We are committed to ensuring that Northern Ireland continues to increase its share of the global travel business.” 

Overseas tourism delivers about £586 million per year for the Northern Ireland economy, helping to sustain over 61,000 jobs in local communities. Since Tourism Ireland was established, 27.6 million overseas visitors have come to Northern Ireland, generating just over £6 billion for the economy. 

Notes To Editors


Total - All Markets

Great Britain North America Mainland Europe Other Areas
Total O/S Visitors +4% +2% +6% +5% +25%

Holiday  Visitors

+6% +4% +10% -1% +26%
Overseas Revenue +12% +0% +26% +23% +40%