Belfast Telegraph

Why Belfast is a massive hit with tourists

By Staff Reporter

Northern Ireland has never been more ready for tourists - but are we as good as we think at the hospitality business?

In 2014, outside visitors made 2.2million trips here -a rise of 4% on 2013. But the most recent official figures also revealed they spent £514m - 3% down from £519m in 2013.

With Northern Ireland basking in glorious sunshine, tourists have been flocking to Belfast and the miles of sandy coastline. Yesterday, they let us know their thoughts on whether Titanic Belfast, black taxi tours, Giant's Causeway and gorgeous scenery were worth the trip.

Valerie Saffran

Where from?  Hollywood, Florida.

Length of stay? Just in Belfast for one day on a chartered coach tour with 25 others.

Other plans? Going on a black taxi tour of Belfast after having a drink at the Crown Bar. Then to Roscommon for 40th birthday party of barman Mark Rowe who works in their favourite bar at home.

Best experience? The Titanic centre was brilliant and really worth a trip but we are really looking forward to the black taxi tour as well.

Larry Myers

Where from? Canada.

Length of stay? Four days.

Other plans? He plans to tour the rest of Northern Ireland as part of a group.

Best experience? I’ve just been here in Belfast for three hours so I haven’t really had a chance to see too much but I enjoyed the city bus tour.

Sergio Raimundo

Where from? Portugal.

Length of stay? One week.

Plans? “I’m on an IFA coaching course and I’ve been in Ireland before.

“I’ve been from coast to coast, north and south, and I love to visit Coleraine and Portrush and Enniskillen, but it’s the first time I’ve been to Belfast and I really like this bar (The Duke of York).”

Best experience? I love the beach and visiting all the nice restaurants and bars close to the beach.

Worst experience? “here’s been nothing up to now. I’ve only ever had a good experience.

Christine and Uli Miller

Where from? Germany.

Length of stay? Two days.

Plans? Visiting Giant’s Causeway and the Ring of Kerry.

Best experience? Christine says: The Titanic museum and it was more than great.

Worst experience?: Uli says: Nothing has disappointed us yet. We’ve tried Irish food and everything tastes great.

Iris Hammond

Where from? Portarlington, Victoria, Australia.

Length of stay? Eight days.

Other plans? To spend her last days visiting family in the Ards area on what is her third trip back home.

Best experience? I’ve been up the Co Antrim coastline and been to the Giant’s Causeway and the Carrick-a-rede bridge. I’ve been there three times as I just love it.

Raquel and Belin Gonzales

Where from? Spain

Length of stay? Four days.

Best Experience: Raquel says: The people are very friendly; they are really very nice here.

Worst Experience: Raquel adds: We are visiting a supplier and sadly we won’t have much time to see much outside Belfast so that’s too bad really.

Hans Huber and Julia Klausner

Where from? Germany.

Length of stay? One day.

Plans? Karin says: We are going to drive to Derry and the Causeway.

Best experience? Julia says: Swimming in the ocean today near Clougherhead. It was cold but it was great.

Worst experience? Karin adds: Everything shuts at six o’clock. We just arrived today and went into the City Hall at 5pm and we had to rush around and leave by six.

Joe Hooker

Where from? Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England.

Length of stay? A week.

Other plans? To visit the Giant’s Causeway and family.

Best experience? I really enjoyed the bus tour of Belfast, even though I’ve been here before, as we learn about the history and the buildings.

Marsali Craig

Where from? Aberdeen, Scotland.

Length of stay? Two nights on part work/leisure short break.

Other plans? The MS Society officer intends to visit Titanic Belfast before she heads back.

Best experience? I’m on the city bus tour now and as a wheelchair user I have to thank the bus driver, the tour guide and his colleague from literally lifting me out of the chair into my seat. I’ve never experienced such consideration before.

Mike Velasquez

Where from? Lawrence, Kansas.

Length of stay? Four days.

Other plans? He and partner Gwyn plan to visit Derry city while they are here as well as Moneymore, as Gwyn’s grandmother is originally from there.

Best experience? Mike says: So far it’s been about being able to learn about your history close up rather than reading in history books at home.

Ineke and Marcel Eppinh

Where from? Holland.

Length of stay? Ineke says: It’s our first time here so tomorrow we pick up a camper van and we are going to the Causeway.

Best experience? Marcel says: We have enjoyed all the nice buildings and the architecture and there are very nice people here.

Worst experience? Marcel said: Outside the city centre is not as nice. Some shops look broken down and not so good.

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