General Industry

Visit Belfast Targets £424m Economic Boost For City

By Robert McHugh
Visit Belfast Targets £424m Economic Boost For City

Visit Belfast has launched a new three-year strategy that plans to further strengthen the city’s tourism economy by 20% over the next three years, delivering a cumulative economic boost of £424 million (€498 million) by 2027 from its combined sales, marketing and visitor servicing activity.

Targeting an annual growth rate of 6.25%, Visit Belfast expects to deliver £133 million (€156 million) to the economy this year (2024-25), up from £125 million the year before and increasing to an annual return of £150 million (€176 million) for the Belfast City region in 2026-27.

'Visitor Experience'

“The targets are bold and ambitious,” said Marie-Thérèse, Visit Belfast Chair.

“Together with Belfast City Council and key partners, we’re committed to increasing the benefits of tourism across our city and wider region including neighbourhoods in a responsible, sustainable way that enhances the visitor experience while working well for the people of Belfast.”

New Horizons

Belfast accounts for around 32% of Northern Ireland’s tourism nights and 40% of all tourism spending in Northern Ireland.


Visit Belfast's new strategy for 2024-2027, New Horizons for the Belfast City Region, aims to highlight Belfast’s neighbourhood areas.

The group plans to boost their profile locally, nationally and internationally to enhance the city’s overall destination appeal.

Economic Target

Visit Belfast’s most recent strategy, delivering for a post-Covid era – Rebuilding City Tourism 2021-24 delivered an economic return of £319 million (€374.5 million) for the city, powered by strong growth in leisure, business and cruise tourism, with room occupancy rates exceeding 84% at weekend (and 80% midweek), rising footfall and greater consumer spend.

The new 2024-27 economic target for of £424 million (€497 million) represents an increase of almost one third (32.9%).

This year, in 2024/25, Visit Belfast is targeting 780,000 visitors, 445,000 bed nights and 766,000 tourist enquiries, while driving sustainable best practice across the sector.


Growth Potential

The detailed strategy and plans, which following extensive consultation, were developed with the support of TOPOSOPHY, one of Europe’s leading placemaking and marketing agencies, were presented to key stakeholders and partners at a major event at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park.

The stadium is located in just one of the city’s many neighbourhood areas earmarked for new growth potential.

'Compelling Destination'

“Recognising and positively promoting our unique and competitive strengths as a compelling destination is vital in promoting our destination appeal to visitors around the world, to driving growth and to delivering economic impact," said John McGrillen, chief executive, Tourism Northern Ireland.

"Tourism Northern Ireland will continue to work with Visit Belfast and all our partners to ensure that we maximise our tourism potential, helping to position the region internationally as an attractive place to visit, making our visitors feel welcome while also helping to make the lives better for all our citizens.”