General Industry

Northern Ireland Enjoys Record Year For Overseas Tourism

By Dave Simpson
Northern Ireland Enjoys Record Year For Overseas Tourism

Following last week's news that 2017 has proven to be the best yet for overseas tourism to the Republic of Ireland, it's been announced that the same is true for Northern Ireland, with around 2.26 million visitors (+6% on 2016) contributing more than £586 million (+8%) in revenue to the economy.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said, “2017 looks set to be the best year ever for overseas tourism to Northern Ireland. Throughout the year, Tourism Ireland undertook a packed programme of promotions, to bring Northern Ireland to the attention of travellers everywhere. Our award-winning Game of Thrones Tapestry campaign reached millions of people around the world. Thousands of opportunities were created for potential visitors to read, hear or watch positive messages about Northern Ireland. Tourism Ireland estimates that this media exposure is worth an estimated £100 million in equivalent advertising value.”

Earlier this month, Tourism Ireland launched its marketing plans to promote Northern Ireland in 2018, with a target to welcome 2.3 million visitors to Northern Ireland and to grow overseas tourism revenue by 6% to £623 million for the Northern Ireland economy.

Commenting on the year ahead, Gibbons said, “We are heading into 2018 in a position of some strength, based on the success of 2017. Next year, we will continue to create ‘stand out’ for Northern Ireland around the world, highlighting iconic experiences like Titanic Belfast and the Causeway Coastal Route. We will also promote Belfast, in particular for shoulder and off-peak travel. We will showcase our world-class golf, leveraging the prestigious 148th Open at Royal Portrush in 2019. Screen tourism will remain a priority, as we continue to highlight our connection with Game of Thrones. In the US, we ill also capitalise on the 300th anniversary of the 1718 Ulster Scots migration to North America.”