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06 Jun 2019

Tourism Ireland welcomes +12% growth in holidaymakers to Northern Ireland for 2018

Tourism Ireland has welcomed the figures for overseas visitors to Northern Ireland for 2018, issued by NISRA (Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency) today.
The figures confirm that we welcomed a record 2.218 million overseas visitors – up +2% on 2017. Holiday visitors accounted for 794,142 overseas visitors – up +12%.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Figures published by NISRA today confirm that we welcomed a record 2.218 million overseas visitors to Northern Ireland in 2018. I am particularly pleased to see growth of +12% in holidaymakers from overseas, with significant increases in holiday visitors recorded from GB (+10%), North America (+22%), Mainland Europe (+5%) and Australia and Developing Markets (+14%). Overseas visitors delivered over £560 million for the local economy.”
In 2019, Tourism Ireland aims to build on the success of 2018 – growing overseas tourism revenue by +8%, driven by an increase of +4% in visitor numbers.
Niall Gibbons continued: “Tourism Ireland is determined to ensure that tourism growth from overseas continues. We are rolling out an extensive programme of promotions throughout 2019, to highlight Northern Ireland around the world. We are pulling out all the stops to leverage the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities of the final series of Game of Thrones and The 148th Open at Royal Portrush. And we continue to showcase iconic experiences like Titanic Belfast, the Giant’s Causeway and our unique National Trust properties. Our aim is to position Northern Ireland as a year-round, ‘must visit’ destination and to ensure that the contribution of overseas tourism to the local economy continues to expand.”

Overseas tourism delivers over £560 million per year for the Northern Ireland economy, helping to sustain over 65,000 jobs in local communities.

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 65,000 jobs.
  • In 2018, we welcomed 2.218 million overseas visitors to Northern Ireland, delivering revenue of over £560 million. 
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted 20.3 million visitors in 2018.