Belfast Telegraph

Tourism body hails 'record year' for Northern Ireland and sets out fresh targets

Plan: Tourism Ireland’s Niall Gibbons
Plan: Tourism Ireland’s Niall Gibbons
Margaret Canning

By Margaret Canning

Tourism Ireland wants to grow revenue from overseas visitors to Northern Ireland by 15% to £658m by 2022.

The cross-border body, which markets Northern Ireland and the Republic abroad, also wants to boost visitor numbers here by 13% to 2.57 million.

It said 2.265 million people would have visited Northern Ireland by the end of the year, up 2% on 2018, with revenue from international sales expected to be £570m, another 2% rise.

Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons added: "This is set to be another record year for overseas tourism to Northern Ireland.

"Throughout the year, Tourism Ireland undertook a packed programme of promotions to bring Northern Ireland to the attention of travellers everywhere."

Mr Gibbons said his organisation had "pulled out all the stops" to publicise the final series of Game of Thrones, which was part-filmed in Northern Ireland, as well as the Open golf tournament at Royal Portrush.

The media exposure from the events was worth around £157m in equivalent advertising value.

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During the next year, Tourism Ireland will roll out a new campaign for Northern Ireland, called Embrace a Giant Spirit, around the world.

The body plans to "leverage the legacy" of hosting the Open at Royal Portrush by selling Northern Ireland as a golfing destination.

Tourism Ireland is today revealing the second phase of a global campaign for the whole island, Fill Your Heart With Ireland, which will showcase less-visited attractions such as Hillsborough Castle, Ballycastle, and Rathlin Island.

Belfast Telegraph