Northern Ireland tourist levels hit by the global recession
Overseas visitors to Northern Ireland have dropped due to the global recession.
In 2008 1.7m people from abroad visited the province, but this fell to 1.5m in 2009, according to forecast figures for the year.
Yesterday Tourism Ireland announced plans to boost the number of overseas visitors by 4% and holiday makers by 10% to a total of 2m by 2010.
Around £1m a month is to be spent on marketing to reverse the decline.
Chief executive Niall Gibbons said: “There is no doubt about it that global economic uncertainty has led to this decline — tourism just about everywhere has declined in double digit figures.”
Numbers for visitors from Britain, the largest single market for tourism to Northern Ireland, are expected to show a fall of 15%.
Mr Gibbons added: “We have a lot of good things that are happening in Northern Ireland that are working to our advantage — new hotels, the re-opening of the Ulster Museum.”
At the launch of the marketing plans Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: “If we utilise what we have available, package, promote and deliver this to best effect, we will be able to boost the already significant economic benefits that tourism brings to the area.”