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Botanic Gardens in Belfast,  Abi Ballantine and Siobhan looking at the flowers in the palm house. Summer 2011

Botanic Gardens in Belfast, Abi Ballantine and Siobhan looking at the flowers in the palm house. Summer 2011

Sarah Docherty gets stripped off to soak up the sun in the grounds of Belfast City Hall. Summer 2011

Sarah Docherty gets stripped off to soak up the sun in the grounds of Belfast City Hall. Summer 2011

Jenny Wilson from Bannbridge and Miranda Garrett from America, relax in the warm sunshine in Coleraine. Summer 2011

Jenny Wilson from Bannbridge and Miranda Garrett from America, relax in the warm sunshine in Coleraine. Summer 2011

Relaxing in the warm sunshine in Coleraine are Lauren Houston, and Heather Wilson from Bannbridge. Summer 2011

Relaxing in the warm sunshine in Coleraine are Lauren Houston, and Heather Wilson from Bannbridge. Summer 2011

People enjoy the sunshine in the grounds of Belfast City Hall. Summer 2011

People enjoy the sunshine in the grounds of Belfast City Hall. Summer 2011

Warm weather continues across Northern Ireland.  Left to right.  Sarah Docherty, Shantala Porter and Nancy Kennedy from Belfast take advantage of the sunshine in the grounds of the City Hall in Belfast.

Warm weather continues across Northern Ireland. Left to right. Sarah Docherty, Shantala Porter and Nancy Kennedy from Belfast take advantage of the sunshine in the grounds of the City Hall in Belfast.

Botanic Gardens in Belfast,  Eve Scullion aged 4 enjoying an ice-cream in the weather, Summer 2011

Botanic Gardens in Belfast, Eve Scullion aged 4 enjoying an ice-cream in the weather, Summer 2011

Botanic Gardens in Belfast -   Nicola Connolly, Lindsey Johnston and Emma Louise Gilroy enjoying the sun Summer 2011

Botanic Gardens in Belfast - Nicola Connolly, Lindsey Johnston and Emma Louise Gilroy enjoying the sun Summer 2011

Botanic Gardens in Belfast -   Summer 2011

Botanic Gardens in Belfast - Summer 2011

Botanic Gardens in Belfast - Pheobe Mullan aged 3 enjoying the sun Summer 2011

Botanic Gardens in Belfast - Pheobe Mullan aged 3 enjoying the sun Summer 2011

Botanic Gardens in Belfast - Ciara Kennedy aged 8 blowing bubbles in the sun Summer 2011

Botanic Gardens in Belfast - Ciara Kennedy aged 8 blowing bubbles in the sun Summer 2011

Botanic Gardens in Belfast - A man reading the newspaper in the sun Summer 2011

Botanic Gardens in Belfast - A man reading the newspaper in the sun Summer 2011

Hot weather across the north coast at the weekend. Sarah Saunders, Emily Saunders, Matthew Saunders, Jordan Boyd and Andrew Boyd from templepatrick at Portstewart Strand. Summer 2011

Hot weather across the north coast at the weekend. Sarah Saunders, Emily Saunders, Matthew Saunders, Jordan Boyd and Andrew Boyd from templepatrick at Portstewart Strand. Summer 2011

MARGARET MCLAUGHLIN

Hot weather across the north coast at the weekend. Summer 2011

Hot weather across the north coast at the weekend. Summer 2011

MARGARET MCLAUGHLIN ©

Hot weather across the north coast at the weekend. Summer 2011

Hot weather across the north coast at the weekend. Summer 2011

MARGARET MCLAUGHLIN©

The Beat Iniative's "Life is a Carnival," parades passes through Botanic Gardens and Ulster Museum . July 2011

The Beat Iniative's "Life is a Carnival," parades passes through Botanic Gardens and Ulster Museum . July 2011

Cooper Combe(5) from Belfast and his sister Georgie(7) enjoy an ice cream in the sunshine at Botanic Gardens in south Belfast. Summer 2011

Cooper Combe(5) from Belfast and his sister Georgie(7) enjoy an ice cream in the sunshine at Botanic Gardens in south Belfast. Summer 2011

Edgars Skrastins(10) from Belfast has a water fight with his uncle Alex Vancenko at Botanic Gardens in south Belfast. Summer 2011

Edgars Skrastins(10) from Belfast has a water fight with his uncle Alex Vancenko at Botanic Gardens in south Belfast. Summer 2011

Hot weather across the north coast at the weekend. Philip Kerr from Dromara underground at the White Rocks Portrush. Picture Margaret McLaughlin. July 2011

Hot weather across the north coast at the weekend. Philip Kerr from Dromara underground at the White Rocks Portrush. Picture Margaret McLaughlin. July 2011

MARGARET MCLAUGHLIN

Sarah Docherty gets stripped off to soak up the sun in the grounds of Belfast City Hall. July 2011

Sarah Docherty gets stripped off to soak up the sun in the grounds of Belfast City Hall. July 2011

Warm weather continues across Northern Ireland.  Sarah Docherty and Nancy Kennedy from Belfast take advantage of the sunshine in the grounds of the City Hall in Belfast.  Summer 2011

Warm weather continues across Northern Ireland. Sarah Docherty and Nancy Kennedy from Belfast take advantage of the sunshine in the grounds of the City Hall in Belfast. Summer 2011

Botanic Gardens in south Belfast. Summer 2011

Botanic Gardens in south Belfast. Summer 2011

Good weather continues across Northern Ireland.  People relax in the sunshine at Botanic Gardens in south Belfast. Summer 2011

Good weather continues across Northern Ireland. People relax in the sunshine at Botanic Gardens in south Belfast. Summer 2011

Botanic Gardens in south Belfast. Summer 2011

Botanic Gardens in south Belfast. Summer 2011

Edgars Skrastins(10) from Belfast has a water fight with his uncle Alex Vancenko at Botanic Gardens in south Belfast. Summer 2011

Edgars Skrastins(10) from Belfast has a water fight with his uncle Alex Vancenko at Botanic Gardens in south Belfast. Summer 2011

Botanic Gardens in south Belfast. Summer 2011

Botanic Gardens in south Belfast. Summer 2011

Ulster basks in the sunshine.  Newscastle beach

Ulster basks in the sunshine. Newscastle beach

Alex Heyes from Belfast pictured skateboarding and enjoying the sun at The Albert Memorial Clock in Belfast . June 2010. Picture By: Arthur Allison.

Alex Heyes from Belfast pictured skateboarding and enjoying the sun at The Albert Memorial Clock in Belfast . June 2010. Picture By: Arthur Allison.

Emma Catling pictured at Crawfordsburn beach enjoy the sun.Picture By: Arthur Allison. Pacemaker Press Belfast 16-06-2010:

Emma Catling pictured at Crawfordsburn beach enjoy the sun.Picture By: Arthur Allison. Pacemaker Press Belfast 16-06-2010:

Folk band Bhanxty enjoy the weather and play a few tunes in Belfast's Botanic Gardens.June 2010 Pacemaker Press

Folk band Bhanxty enjoy the weather and play a few tunes in Belfast's Botanic Gardens.June 2010 Pacemaker Press

David Mulligan enjoys the sun.  June 2010

David Mulligan enjoys the sun. June 2010

Caislin Himson, Ann-Marie Denver and Caitrina Grogin, all from County Londonderry enjoying the heatwave at Portstewart.

Caislin Himson, Ann-Marie Denver and Caitrina Grogin, all from County Londonderry enjoying the heatwave at Portstewart.

JUSTIN KERNOGHAN

Sunbathing in the hot sunshine at Portstewart Strand Beach. June 2010

Sunbathing in the hot sunshine at Portstewart Strand Beach. June 2010

Jack Williams, enjoys water jets at Portstewart during the warm sunshine. June 2010

Jack Williams, enjoys water jets at Portstewart during the warm sunshine. June 2010

A couple relaxing  at The Cresent in Portstewart . June 2010

A couple relaxing at The Cresent in Portstewart . June 2010

Catherine Fillis (Coleraine) and Lauren Huston (Ballymoney) enjoy a   morning splash at Portstewart Beach. June 2010

Catherine Fillis (Coleraine) and Lauren Huston (Ballymoney) enjoy a morning splash at Portstewart Beach. June 2010

Queen's students Tallar Bogosyan and Lucy Catherine in Belfast's Botanic Gardens enjoying the sun. Pacemaker

Queen's students Tallar Bogosyan and Lucy Catherine in Belfast's Botanic Gardens enjoying the sun. Pacemaker

Queen's studentsTallar Bogosyan and Lucy Catherine in Belfast's Botanic Gardens enjoying the sun. Pacemaker

Queen's studentsTallar Bogosyan and Lucy Catherine in Belfast's Botanic Gardens enjoying the sun. Pacemaker

Sarah Bryce, Rachel Bryce, Emma Holmes and Kyle Boyd at Helens Bay . May 2010

Sarah Bryce, Rachel Bryce, Emma Holmes and Kyle Boyd at Helens Bay . May 2010

Emily McAllister, in Belfast

Emily McAllister, in Belfast

Jayde Deegan and Tomas Manning at Helens Bay. May 2010

Jayde Deegan and Tomas Manning at Helens Bay. May 2010

Laura Murray and Blaine McMillan, Belfast City Hall.

Laura Murray and Blaine McMillan, Belfast City Hall.

Caran Winchester,  in Belfast

Caran Winchester, in Belfast

Sarah Hanna and Megan Harding at Helens Bay. May 2010

Sarah Hanna and Megan Harding at Helens Bay. May 2010

Kristina McAllister, in Belfast. May 2010

Kristina McAllister, in Belfast. May 2010

Mairtin Lyons and Sarah-Leagh Meenan at Helens Bay. May 2010

Mairtin Lyons and Sarah-Leagh Meenan at Helens Bay. May 2010

Niamh  and  Sarah-Leagh Meenanat ,Helens Bay. May 2010

Niamh and Sarah-Leagh Meenanat ,Helens Bay. May 2010

Lauren Tracey, pictured in Belfast. May 2010

Lauren Tracey, pictured in Belfast. May 2010

The fountains at Custom House Square in Belfast. May 2010

The fountains at Custom House Square in Belfast. May 2010

Alan Lewis

Emma Boyle and Eimear McDonnell enjoy the good weather at the Belfast City Hall

Emma Boyle and Eimear McDonnell enjoy the good weather at the Belfast City Hall

Alice Kavanagh, right from Monastervin, Co. Kildare and Ella Weld from Newbridge, Co. Kildare enjoy some ice cream at the Curragh races. May 2010

Alice Kavanagh, right from Monastervin, Co. Kildare and Ella Weld from Newbridge, Co. Kildare enjoy some ice cream at the Curragh races. May 2010

Damien Eagers

Miss Belfast City finalists soaking up the sun in Belfast city centre. May 2010

Miss Belfast City finalists soaking up the sun in Belfast city centre. May 2010

JUSTIN KERNOGHAN

Miss Belfast City finalists soaking up the sun in Belfast city centre. May 2010

Miss Belfast City finalists soaking up the sun in Belfast city centre. May 2010

JUSTIN KERNOGHAN

21 year old Diana Divoux from   France, who is studying in Belfast, soaking up the   sun on the banks of Belfast Lough. May 2010

21 year old Diana Divoux from France, who is studying in Belfast, soaking up the sun on the banks of Belfast Lough. May 2010

Judith Carville, Sarah Magennis and Joanne Lamb at Helen's Bay. May 2010

Judith Carville, Sarah Magennis and Joanne Lamb at Helen's Bay. May 2010

A Common Marmoset enjoys a date filled ice cream at Blair Drummond Safari Park near Stirling. May 2010

A Common Marmoset enjoys a date filled ice cream at Blair Drummond Safari Park near Stirling. May 2010

Andrew Milligan

nd May 2010.  Children's festival in the Waterworks in north Belfast.  Left to right.  Four-year-old twins Katie Bradley-Irvine and her brother Jason from east Belfast pictured after having their faces painted.

nd May 2010. Children's festival in the Waterworks in north Belfast. Left to right. Four-year-old twins Katie Bradley-Irvine and her brother Jason from east Belfast pictured after having their faces painted.

Jayde Deegan at Helens Bay. May 2010.

Jayde Deegan at Helens Bay. May 2010.

2nd May 2010.  Children's festival in the Waterworks in north Belfast.  Seven-year-old Lana Turner from the Cliftonville area with two badges she made.

2nd May 2010. Children's festival in the Waterworks in north Belfast. Seven-year-old Lana Turner from the Cliftonville area with two badges she made.

22nd May 2010.  Children's festival in the Waterworks in north Belfast.  Left to right.  Sean McDermott(8) with his brother Sean are entertained at the Flea Circus by Madame Tiptop and Felix Flip-flop.

22nd May 2010. Children's festival in the Waterworks in north Belfast. Left to right. Sean McDermott(8) with his brother Sean are entertained at the Flea Circus by Madame Tiptop and Felix Flip-flop.

22nd May 2010.  Children's festival in the Waterworks in north Belfast.  Children are entertained by a couple of performers in the park.

22nd May 2010. Children's festival in the Waterworks in north Belfast. Children are entertained by a couple of performers in the park.

22nd May 2010.  Children's festival in the Waterworks in north Belfast.  Left to right.  Molley Agnew Boyce(9) from Fortwilliam and Ted Anderson(2) from Holywood play with a device which makes sounds as they draw.

22nd May 2010. Children's festival in the Waterworks in north Belfast. Left to right. Molley Agnew Boyce(9) from Fortwilliam and Ted Anderson(2) from Holywood play with a device which makes sounds as they draw.

22nd May 2010.  Children's festival in the Waterworks in north Belfast.  General views of the park.

22nd May 2010. Children's festival in the Waterworks in north Belfast. General views of the park.

22nd May 2010.  Children's festival in the Waterworks in north Belfast.  Swedish juggler Ture Holm from Premiere Circus pictured in the park.

22nd May 2010. Children's festival in the Waterworks in north Belfast. Swedish juggler Ture Holm from Premiere Circus pictured in the park.

<b>FLASHBACK - memorable moments brought to you by Ulster's wild weather</B>

<b>FLASHBACK - memorable moments brought to you by Ulster's wild weather</B>

William Cherry/Presseye

PACEMAKER BELFAST  25/11/09Sever flooding in Co Fermanagh from the air. Farm land and out buildings were worst affected in this area.Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

PACEMAKER BELFAST 25/11/09Sever flooding in Co Fermanagh from the air. Farm land and out buildings were worst affected in this area.Photo Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Flooding in Co Fermanagh November 2009

Flooding in Co Fermanagh November 2009

Flooding in Co Fermanagh November 2009

Flooding in Co Fermanagh November 2009

Flooding in Co Fermanagh November 2009

Flooding in Co Fermanagh November 2009

Flooding in Co Fermanagh November 2009

Flooding in Co Fermanagh November 2009

Flooding in County Fermanagh November 2009

Flooding in County Fermanagh November 2009

Flooding in County Fermanagh November 2009

Flooding in County Fermanagh November 2009

Flooding in Co Fermanagh November 2009

Flooding in Co Fermanagh November 2009

Flooding in County Fermanagh November 2009

Flooding in County Fermanagh November 2009

John McVitty

Flooding in County Fermanagh November 2009

Flooding in County Fermanagh November 2009

John McVitty

Flooding in County Fermanagh November 2009

Flooding in County Fermanagh November 2009

John McVitty

It might look like a lake but this is a town centre road in Enniskillen

It might look like a lake but this is a town centre road in Enniskillen

JUSTIN KERNOGHAN

Minister Michelle Gildernew arrives by boat at the Erneside Shopping Centre

Minister Michelle Gildernew arrives by boat at the Erneside Shopping Centre

Vehicles battling through the floods in Lisnaskea

Vehicles battling through the floods in Lisnaskea

JUSTIN KERNOGHAN

Local people using alternative transport to get through flooded roads at the Erneside Shopping centre

Local people using alternative transport to get through flooded roads at the Erneside Shopping centre

JUSTIN KERNOGHAN

Staff at the Share Centre, Irelands' Largest Residential Outdoor Activity Centre based in Smiths Strand, Lisnaskea on the edge of Upper Lough Erne, pictured rowing through the reception area

Staff at the Share Centre, Irelands' Largest Residential Outdoor Activity Centre based in Smiths Strand, Lisnaskea on the edge of Upper Lough Erne, pictured rowing through the reception area

JUSTIN KERNOGHAN

A stranded driver at the Erneside Shopping centre

A stranded driver at the Erneside Shopping centre

JUSTIN KERNOGHAN

A Rivers Agency worker helps a stranded driver at the Erneside Shopping centre on the edge of Upper Lough Erne after heavy rain has caused major flooding in the area - The level of Lough Erne is the highest on record after days of heavy rain caused widespread flooding and disruption in County Fermanagh

A Rivers Agency worker helps a stranded driver at the Erneside Shopping centre on the edge of Upper Lough Erne after heavy rain has caused major flooding in the area - The level of Lough Erne is the highest on record after days of heavy rain caused widespread flooding and disruption in County Fermanagh

JUSTIN KERNOGHAN

A Rivers Agency worker using sandbags and waterpumps to stop a river overflowing at the Erneside Shopping centre on the edge of Upper Lough Erne after heavy rain has caused major flooding in the area - The level of Lough Erne is the highest on record after days of heavy rain caused widespread flooding and disruption in County Fermanagh

A Rivers Agency worker using sandbags and waterpumps to stop a river overflowing at the Erneside Shopping centre on the edge of Upper Lough Erne after heavy rain has caused major flooding in the area - The level of Lough Erne is the highest on record after days of heavy rain caused widespread flooding and disruption in County Fermanagh

JUSTIN KERNOGHAN

Chris McHugh with his son Jacob aged 14 months, on the flooded Samsonagh road near his home in Co Fermanagh

Chris McHugh with his son Jacob aged 14 months, on the flooded Samsonagh road near his home in Co Fermanagh

A farmer on the flooded Samsonagh road near Co Fermanagh

A farmer on the flooded Samsonagh road near Co Fermanagh

Paul Faith

A school bus from Killyhommon Primary School, Co Fermanagh, makes its way through a flooded road

A school bus from Killyhommon Primary School, Co Fermanagh, makes its way through a flooded road

Rescue personnel conduct a door to door search for trapped people in the High St of Cockermouth

Rescue personnel conduct a door to door search for trapped people in the High St of Cockermouth

Cars abandoned on the Glenshane Pass this morning. Picture Martin McKeown. 31.3.10

Cars abandoned on the Glenshane Pass this morning. Picture Martin McKeown. 31.3.10

A car which was involved in an accident on the Glenshane Pass on   as heavy snow played havoc on the roads in teh North West.  30.3.10

A car which was involved in an accident on the Glenshane Pass on as heavy snow played havoc on the roads in teh North West. 30.3.10

Workmen push their van after getting stuck in snow on the Glenshane Pass.. 30.3.10

Workmen push their van after getting stuck in snow on the Glenshane Pass.. 30.3.10

Rain and wind 'battered' early morning shoppers in Belfast's city centre

Rain and wind 'battered' early morning shoppers in Belfast's city centre

A snowplough tows a lorry on the Glenshane Pass.  30.3.10

A snowplough tows a lorry on the Glenshane Pass. 30.3.10

The grounds around Stormont started to flood during the bad weather

The grounds around Stormont started to flood during the bad weather

William Cherry/Presseye

Heavy rain and snow effect various parts of Northern Ireland.  The banks of the River Lagan at Drumbeg overflow due to the heavy rain. March 31 2010

Heavy rain and snow effect various parts of Northern Ireland. The banks of the River Lagan at Drumbeg overflow due to the heavy rain. March 31 2010

A car drives through flooded roads on the outskirts of Ballymena, Co Antrim

A car drives through flooded roads on the outskirts of Ballymena, Co Antrim

Paul Faith

River moyola tobermore. picture submitted by Rod Mulholand.Tobermore. 30.03.2010

River moyola tobermore. picture submitted by Rod Mulholand.Tobermore. 30.03.2010

Heavy rain and wind in Belfast

Heavy rain and wind in Belfast

A woman walks across the M3 in heavy snow in Cavan

A woman walks across the M3 in heavy snow in Cavan

Niall Carson

A delivery man works in heavy snow in Cavan town

A delivery man works in heavy snow in Cavan town

Niall Carson

A woman walks through heavy snow in Cavan

A woman walks through heavy snow in Cavan

Niall Carson

&lt;b&gt;Belfast Telegraph readers' pics of winter weather: &lt;/b&gt;Icy Waterfall on January 11. By  Katie S., Killarney National Park

<b>Belfast Telegraph readers' pics of winter weather: </b>Icy Waterfall on January 11. By Katie S., Killarney National Park

Snowy Fence around Ballymena. By Barry Lau - Ballymena

Snowy Fence around Ballymena. By Barry Lau - Ballymena

RIVER BANN,BALLYDOWN,BANBRIDGE, BY STEPHEN McDOWELL

RIVER BANN,BALLYDOWN,BANBRIDGE, BY STEPHEN McDOWELL

&lt;b&gt;Gallery of Belfast Telegraph readers' snow pictures &lt;/b&gt;Castle Gardens, Lisburn. By Tom Porter

<b>Gallery of Belfast Telegraph readers' snow pictures </b>Castle Gardens, Lisburn. By Tom Porter

A Winter Sun In Lisburn. By Tom Porter

A Winter Sun In Lisburn. By Tom Porter

Beautiful trees on divis mountains. By Pauline

Beautiful trees on divis mountains. By Pauline

Entrance to Belvoir. By Des Meredith at Belvoir

Entrance to Belvoir. By Des Meredith at Belvoir

belvoir forest park. By fiona donnan  belfast

belvoir forest park. By fiona donnan  belfast

Lisburn's Winter Wonderland. By Tom, Lisburn

Lisburn's Winter Wonderland. By Tom, Lisburn

Mourne Mountains. By John Mitchell, Belfast

Mourne Mountains. By John Mitchell, Belfast

Wallace Park, Lisburn. By Tom, Lisburn

Wallace Park, Lisburn. By Tom, Lisburn

Strule Bridge. By Stevie, Omagh

Strule Bridge. By Stevie, Omagh

Angela Eadie &amp; her daughters having fun in the snow.

Angela Eadie & her daughters having fun in the snow.

Cycling like madman on Sunday. By Lawrence Smith , Cavehill

Cycling like madman on Sunday. By Lawrence Smith , Cavehill

Pictures taken in Aghagallon Village. By Etta Mullan

Pictures taken in Aghagallon Village. By Etta Mullan

River Blackwater Maghery

River Blackwater Maghery

near ballymoney. By  nev walker

near ballymoney. By nev walker

Foyle Walkway Derry. By Patsy Devine. Derry City

Foyle Walkway Derry. By Patsy Devine. Derry City

Eglinton village on a winter's morning. By  tony doherty

Eglinton village on a winter's morning. By tony doherty

Glenelly Valley Co Tyrone. By Patsy Devine Stroanbrack Co Tyrone

Glenelly Valley Co Tyrone. By Patsy Devine Stroanbrack Co Tyrone

Flooding in County Fermanagh November 2009

Flooding in County Fermanagh November 2009

John McVitty

22nd May 2010.  Children's festival in the Waterworks in north Belfast.  A BMX demonstration in the park.

22nd May 2010. Children's festival in the Waterworks in north Belfast. A BMX demonstration in the park.

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Botanic Gardens in Belfast, Abi Ballantine and Siobhan looking at the flowers in the palm house. Summer 2011

Sunshine is not guaranteed but a record number of people are enjoying a holiday at home in Northern Ireland.

Falling consumer spending as a result of the recession has given rise to the growing trend for 'staycations', with short city breaks or visits from locals on the increase and delivering a multi-million pound boost to the local economy.

Last year saw domestic holidays reach record levels with 1.29 million Northern Ireland residents enjoying a holiday at home - a year-on-year increase of 21%. The numbers are expected to be even higher this year.

This has been partly boosted by the 'Explore More' marketing campaign by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) to encourage people to take a break at home.

Ruth Burns, from NITB, believes that the convenience of holidaying at home and the value for money has increased Northern Ireland's attractiveness as a holiday destination.

"The ongoing economic climate means that, more than ever, value for money is a key factor in people deciding to holiday at home, and this is reflected in our new campaign with lots of amazing summer accommodation deals on our website," she said.

Janice Gault, Northern Ireland Hotels Federation chief executive, said while 'staycations' are in vogue, many people are still booking abroad.

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"The domestic market has performed strongly, particularly short breaks, but people see holidaying at home as a secondary holiday or a quick getaway," she said. "I believe people are still taking holidays abroad."

The 'staycation' phenomenon has mainly boosted hotels in border areas of Northern Ireland, reflecting the fact that 75% of the population live in the greater Belfast area and people are wanting a break away from the city.

There are also clear benefits to the local economy with day trips by Northern Ireland residents generating £30m in the first four months of this year alone.

One holiday rental businessman described how his company is also benefiting from the rise in families choosing to holiday at home.

Keith Walls, who runs Causeway coast rentals with his wife, is expanding his business Northern Ireland-wide because of the huge demand for holidays at home.

The couple began by renting out their own property on the north Antrim coast three years ago and now manage 40 self-catering holiday homes on the scenic coast from Portrush to Cushendall.

"The biggest market for our properties is local," Keith said. "We do try to target people from the rest of Europe and America but I would say 70% of business is from Northern Ireland.

"There is a massive market from Belfast particularly during July and August when we are 100% fully booked.

"But even off-season there is a big demand for holidays at home. I think there is nowhere better to stay than the north coast, especially when the sun is shining," he added.

The Portstewart father-of-two said a number of factors came together to boost the 'staycation' in Northern Ireland.

"A lot of things happened in a row - the recession, of course and then the ash cloud seemed to spur things along," he said.

"The self-catering option always works out cheaper.

"At £500 a week for a family of six, including petrol costs, that doesn't add up to a big spend for a holiday."


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