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Golf tourism increases 23% to generate £33m

The value of golf tourism in Northern Ireland increased by a quarter last year.

An extra £6 million was spent as Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke excelled on the world stage.

Related spending was worth £33 million last year, but that is dwarfed by the Republic's lucrative 202 million euro (£141 million) industry.

A Tourism NI review of golf said: "The contribution of visitors from North America is crucial to the total economic impact of golf in Northern Ireland.

"The feedback from North American visitors is very positive and a high proportion are return visitors who show every intention of returning to the country again in the future.

"Current visitors remain affluent, although the impact of a weaker US dollar during the peak golfing season was perhaps apparent in slightly lower expenditure by visitors from North America.

"Efforts to encourage golfers to make Northern Ireland the sole destination on their golf break, rather than one among many stops, appear to have borne fruit, with higher proportions of golfers than in 2013 testifying to flying to Belfast Airport and visiting only Northern Ireland."

It noted an "encouraging" increase in the proportion of domestic golfers taking overnight breaks in Northern Ireland.

Golf tourism generated £33 million last year compared to £27 million in 2013, a 23% increase, according to Northern Ireland Assembly research.

The number of golfing visitors to Northern Ireland was 139,300 in 2014, up from 134,268 in 2013 - an increase of 3.7%.

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