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Almost £17 million was spent during the Tall Ships festival in Northern Ireland.

Almost £17 million was spent during the Tall Ships festival in Northern Ireland.

Race start Antwerp 2004

Race start Antwerp 2004

Cuauhtemoc crew man the yards as they arrive in Stockholm

Cuauhtemoc crew man the yards as they arrive in Stockholm

Crowds visiting the Tall Ships Races fleet in Bergen

Crowds visiting the Tall Ships Races fleet in Bergen

Mir (Russia) in Alicante Parade of Sail 2007

Mir (Russia) in Alicante Parade of Sail 2007

HRH the Duke of Edinburgh meets captains of vessels taking part in the 50th Anniversary Tall Ships Races

HRH the Duke of Edinburgh meets captains of vessels taking part in the 50th Anniversary Tall Ships Races

Bon voyage to the Tall Ships

Bon voyage to the Tall Ships

250,000 people thronged to shoreline viewing points to watch the farewell Parade of Sail which included the famous ‘Bounty’ ship

250,000 people thronged to shoreline viewing points to watch the farewell Parade of Sail which included the famous ‘Bounty’ ship

A spectacular departure as the Tall Ships leave Belfast yesterday

A spectacular departure as the Tall Ships leave Belfast yesterday

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships, Belfast, 2009

Tall Ships, Belfast, 2009

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Tall Ships Belfast

Couple: Stephen and Corrine after their journey across the Atlantic

Couple: Stephen and Corrine after their journey across the Atlantic

Shiver me timbers: Nine-year-old Jack Bennett from Killyleagh in pirate costume for the Tall Ships yesterday

Shiver me timbers: Nine-year-old Jack Bennett from Killyleagh in pirate costume for the Tall Ships yesterday

Sunset scene: The Tall Ships are aglow with lights as dusk falls over the Lagan last night

Sunset scene: The Tall Ships are aglow with lights as dusk falls over the Lagan last night

Young people from Canada get their first glimpse of Belfast from the yardarm of the Tall Ship Europa

Young people from Canada get their first glimpse of Belfast from the yardarm of the Tall Ship Europa

Europa manoeuvres before tying up at Queen's Quay

Europa manoeuvres before tying up at Queen's Quay

Pulling the crowds: The festival hadn't even begun yesterday and already there were hundreds of people thronging Queen's Quay for a look at the Tall Ships as they moored in Belfast

Pulling the crowds: The festival hadn't even begun yesterday and already there were hundreds of people thronging Queen's Quay for a look at the Tall Ships as they moored in Belfast

Three of the Tall Ships leave Ballycastle harbour past Fair Head as they set sail for Belfast

Three of the Tall Ships leave Ballycastle harbour past Fair Head as they set sail for Belfast

Mir at the race start off, Northern Ireland

Mir at the race start off, Northern Ireland

Cuauhtemoc (Mexico) at the race start off, Northern Ireland

Cuauhtemoc (Mexico) at the race start off, Northern Ireland

Jolie Brise (UK) at the race start off, Northern Ireland

Jolie Brise (UK) at the race start off, Northern Ireland

Stavros S Niarchos in front of the Royal Liver Building, Liverpool Parade of Sail

Stavros S Niarchos in front of the Royal Liver Building, Liverpool Parade of Sail

Libertad (Argentina) at the race start, Toulon

Libertad (Argentina) at the race start, Toulon

Palinuro (Italy) and Amerigo Vuspucci at race start, Toulon

Palinuro (Italy) and Amerigo Vuspucci at race start, Toulon

Capitan Miranda (Uruguay) Barcelona Parade of Sail

Capitan Miranda (Uruguay) Barcelona Parade of Sail

Tall Ships in Arhus 2007

Tall Ships in Arhus 2007

Alexander von Humboldt and Danmark at La Coruna race start 2006

Alexander von Humboldt and Danmark at La Coruna race start 2006

Class A race start at La Coruna

Class A race start at La Coruna

Christian Radich at La Coruna race start

Christian Radich at La Coruna race start

John Laing and Sagres in the Cadiz Parade of Sail

John Laing and Sagres in the Cadiz Parade of Sail

Patrulla Aguila Air Display over the 50th Anniversary Tall Ships Races fleet in Cadiz

Patrulla Aguila Air Display over the 50th Anniversary Tall Ships Races fleet in Cadiz

50th Anniversary Tall Ships Races fleet leaving Lisbon in a Parade of Sail

50th Anniversary Tall Ships Races fleet leaving Lisbon in a Parade of Sail

50th Anniversary Tall Ships Races fleet leaving Lisbon in a Parade of Sail

50th Anniversary Tall Ships Races fleet leaving Lisbon in a Parade of Sail

Almost £17 million was spent during the Tall Ships festival in Northern Ireland.

The Tall Ships and a newly revamped Ulster Museum helped attract 9.3m tourists to Belfast in 2009, contributing £450m to the economy, it has been revealed. There were 2.5m day and overnight visits from the Republic — more than double those in 2008.

The Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau (BVCB) said visitor numbers were up 30% on 2008. Figures include international visitors, visitors from the UK and daytrippers from other parts of Northern Ireland.

SDLP mayor of Belfast Patrick Convery announced the visitor numbers at the BVCB’s annual general meeting yesterday.

Out of the 9.3m tourists, 1.6m were overnight visits by people from outside Northern Ireland — up 12% on the year before.

Mr Convery said: “These visitor figures are a tremendous boost for Belfast.”

Gerry Lennon, BVCB chief executive, added: “Belfast has come of age and has developed into a confident and contemporary city, a place with a rich sense of welcome and a wide range of things to do.”

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