Published Wednesday, 02 November 2011
Tourism statistics published on Wednesday also show the overseas visitors spent £165m in the region, an increase of 24% on the same period in 2010.
Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said: "These are very encouraging figures particularly as Northern Ireland prepares to launch a host of exciting events to celebrate NI2012.
"Tourism Ireland's autumn campaign is also now well underway. This major promotional campaign is aimed at attracting more tourists this autumn and is being rolled out in Great Britain, the US and Mainland Europe.
The campaign features Belfast festivals, the run up to Titanic and NI2012 and will also incorporate a focus on attracting visitors to more rural destinations."
And with the upcoming MTV EMAs and Derry's City of Culture accolade in 2013, it is hoped tourism to Northern Ireland will continue to increase.
"Visitors from one of our most important markets, Great Britain, rose by 7% compared to the same time last year and spending increased by 16%," said the minister.
"Next year, our place will be one of the most exciting places to visit for local people and tourists alike. I am confident that visitors from across the world will continue to make Northern Ireland one of their must-see destinations."
The figures also show Northern Ireland residents also took more holidays in the region, and three million day trips.
Nigel Smyth, Director of the Confederation of British Industry in Northern Ireland, said the figures show tourism in NI has "significant potential".
"This weekend's MTV awards will not only provide a short term boost to the sector but are another great opportunity to promote the best of Northern Ireland.
"There is an opportunity to double tourism revenues by 2020 to around £1bn and create over 10,000 jobs, building on the back of the signature projects, and the creation of a co-ordinated year round events programme, effectively promoted in our key markets.
"If we can secure funding for a conference and exhibition centre in Belfast we are well placed to achieve this ambitious goal."
Sinn Féin MLA Cathal Ó hOisín has welcomed the increase in the number of people visiting from overseas.
"Ireland as a whole has a raft of anniversaries both historically and culturally coming up in the next few years from the anniversary of the Titanic, Ulster Covenant, City of Culture, Dublin Lockout and the 1916 Rising all of which have massive potential in attracting more tourists," he said.
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