Belfast Telegraph

Belfast pulls in 41% of Northern Ireland tourist spending

Gerry Lennon
Gerry Lennon
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

Belfast pulled in 41% of spending on overnight trips by tourists last year, up from 35% the year before, according to research.

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) report shows the city claimed one-third of all overnight trips by tourists, at 1.7 million. That made it the local government district with the highest number of overnight trips. Causeway Coast and Glens came second, with one million.

Belfast and the Antrim and Newtownabbey district jointly claimed the highest relative proportion of business visitors, at around 15% each.

Out of £968m expenditure, Mid Ulster claimed the lowest proportion of spending on overnight stays at £22m.

Belfast claimed £395m.

Gerry Lennon, chief executive of tourism body Visit Belfast, said the figures confirmed that the city was a "key tourism driver and the gateway to NI".

New hotel openings during 2018 in Belfast increased hotel room numbers by 12%.

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Mr Lennon said: "Supported by significant strategic investment in our tourism infrastructure, including the delivery of new hotel provision, Belfast is now responsible for almost half of all visitor spend and a third of all overnight trips."

He said tourism supported more than 19,000 jobs in the city.

Belfast Telegraph