Tourism Generated £1bn In Revenue For NI For First Time In 2019
New figures released by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) have revealed that tourism generated £1 billion in revenue for Northern Ireland for the first time in 2019.
Tourism revenue in Northern Ireland increased by 8% year-on-year last year while overnight trips taken by Republic of Ireland residents increased by 28% and Republic of Ireland visitor spend increased by 31%, according to the agency's data.
Tourism NI quotes Northern Ireland economy minister Diane Dodds as saying, "Northern Ireland's tourism industry is facing extremely challenging conditions at the moment, and I am doing all I can to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the sector. However, I am encouraged that these statistics give us solid evidence that we can recover.
"The fact that the industry generated more than £1 billion in revenue last year for the first time is very heartening."
Dodds added, "Through the Tourism Recovery Steering Group that I established, which includes representatives from across the industry, we will help to steer a course for recovery of the sector.
"These statistics show that Northern Ireland has the product, and the people, to attract visitors, generate revenue, and have hope for the future."
Meanwhile, Tourism NI chief executive John McGrillen commented, "The 2019 tourism statistics released by NISRA, whilst welcome, are really bittersweet. The figures show how well the tourism industry was performing before the current crisis resulting from COVID-19. They do, however, show the growing interest in Northern Ireland as a tourism destination, particularly in close-to-home markets.
"I am particularly pleased by the phenomenal growth in visitor spend from the Republic of Ireland, which had doubled in just three years."
© 2020 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.