General Industry

Visit Belfast Expects City Tourism Growth To Exceed Pre-Pandemic Levels In 2024

By Dave Simpson
Visit Belfast Expects City Tourism Growth To Exceed Pre-Pandemic Levels In 2024

Visit Belfast, the destination marketing management organisation (DMMO) for the Belfast City region, has announced that its plans are on track to deliver around £120 million to the local economy this year, through its sales, marketing, and visitor-servicing activity.

Statement By Lord Mayor Of Belfast

Speaking at the event, the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Christina Black, said, “Over recent years, every sector of our economy and society has felt the impact of a variety of factors beyond our control, including the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, inflation, and a cost-of-living crisis.

“Yet, despite the challenges which presented in 2020, tourism is recovering, thanks to the efforts and commitment of Visit Belfast working in partnership with Belfast City Council and the wider tourism industry.

“Belfast City Council’s ten-year tourism strategy sets out an ambitious vision for the future of city tourism, and we will continue to work collaboratively to achieve its potential across the key pillars: grow, position, experience and sustain.”


Last Year

Last year, Visit Belfast’s combined marketing, visitor-servicing and business development activities delivered an exceeded target of £111 million to the local economy, which included welcoming 60 new conferences, 131 cruise ships with 250,000 visitors, and handling 578,000 visitor enquiries. This year, the city is set to welcome at least 79 major conferences, and a record 170 ships will visit the city, carrying 362,000 passengers and crew members.

Statement By Visit Belfast Chair

Visit Belfast chair Kathryn Thomson said, “City, regional and international tourism performance has progressed at a pace beyond expectations from spring 2022, fuelled by pent-up demand, [the] staycation and VFR [visiting friends and relatives] market, and a record number of business events taking place in the city.

“Since we launched our strategy in April 2021, we began the slow but steady path to recovery, illustrating a step change in our approach to our marketing and visitor-servicing activity. Partnership is the central pillar of Visit Belfast, and by facing the challenges together, we are succeeding in rebuilding tourism to Belfast and the wider city region.”


Marketing Opportunities For 2023

Visit Belfast will capitalise on several marketing opportunities in 2023, including a competitive value-for-money proposition in the key city break markets of GB and ROI, favourable exchange rates, increasing air capacity from GB, Europe and North America, and the reduction of Air Passenger Duty (APD) from GB by 50%.

Statement By Visit Belfast Chief Executive

Gerry Lennon, Visit Belfast’s chief executive, said, “Visit Belfast has set ambitious targets to continue the journey to full recovery. Our industry partnerships play a vital role in Belfast’s tourism success, and through collaboratively working, Visit Belfast leverage opportunities to attract more visitors, increase tourism spend, and cement the city’s credentials as a premier visitor destination. Working together, we’ve delivered great progress, and we remain on track to achieve 2019 record levels.”

Statement By Director Of Marketing At Tourism NI


Naomi Waite, director of marketing at Tourism NI, said, “Tourism Northern Ireland welcomes Visit Belfast’s ambitious plans for the year ahead. We are committed to working together with the wider tourism sector, delivering a coordinated and focused approach to tourism marketing and sales that maximises our contribution to the NI economy.

“With recent and continued investment in attractions such as the reimagined Titanic Belfast, the Titanic Distillers and the Game of Thrones Studio Tour, there are even more giant experiences for visitors to enjoy.”

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