Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland tourism spend hits £790m as visitors increase

By Margaret Canning

Spending by tourists in Northern Ireland increased by 5% to reach nearly £790m in the year to June, latest figures show.

And according to the report from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, the biggest growth in spending was by visitors from outside the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Their spending had grown by 15% to reach £514m. However, spending by visitors from the Republic over the year was down 5%, reaching £56.9m.

Between July 2015 and June 2016, there were 374,919 overnight trips made by visitors from the Republic - which was down 1% on the year before.

Economy Minister Simon Hamilton said the performance of tourism in Northern Ireland had been "positive".

And when compared with the first half of 2015, Tourism NI said there was growth in visits from the Republic in the first of this year, with 27% increase to 179,000.

There was also growth of 38% in nights spent - though business trips were down 30%.

Tourism NI chief executive John McGrillen said there had been 1.1 million visitors from outside Northern Ireland during January to June 2016, an increase of 12% on the same period a year before. He said it was also "encouraged by the upturn in Republic of Ireland trips and nights".

"This bodes well for the rest of the year and feedback over the summer months has been very positive regarding this market."

Tourism NI launched a campaign to attract more visitors from the Republic to Northern Ireland after a fall of 18% in overnight trips to 320,000 during 2015.

Belfast Telegraph