Hike in visitors to Northern Ireland

Published Wednesday, 04 December 2013
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Tourism Ireland has predicted that visits to the north this year will have jumped by 15% compared to 2012.

A marked increase is also expected for revenue generated by overseas visitors throughout the year.

Tourism chiefs believe that around £438 million will be spent by the end of the year - a +7.7% increase over last year.

By 2016, it is hoped the region will welcome over 2 million visitors a year - a hike of 16% compared to this year's figures.

Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster launched the figures behind Tourism Ireland's marketing plans to promote Northern Ireland overseas in 2014 and beyond.

"Given the importance of tourism to the Northern Ireland economy I am setting challenging targets for Tourism Ireland for the coming three years. 2013 was a successful year for us and we look forward to continuing that momentum in 2014 with events such as the Giro d'Italia and the Clipper Yacht race."

The Minister continued: "Capturing the attention of prospective holidaymakers is essential to ensure Northern Ireland stands out from other destinations. In order to attract new and repeat visitors, Tourism Ireland will be seeking opportunities to capitalise on the huge worldwide popularity of HBO's Game of Thrones television series and continuing to promote iconic attractions like Titanic Belfast and the Giant's Causeway."

"Golfing visitors will also continue to be a key sector and we will continue to promote Northern Ireland as a top golfing destination with Tourism Ireland's 'Home of Champions' campaign highlighting home grown golfing champions Rory McIlroy, Graeme McDowell and Darren Clarke."

Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive of Tourism Ireland, said that there is much to look forward to next year.

"In particular, the hosting of the first stages of the famous Giro d'Italia will be a fantastic opportunity. The race will route competitors around Belfast, along the spectacular Causeway Coast and down to historic Armagh, before moving on to Dublin and wonderful images of Northern Ireland will be beamed into the homes of millions of people around the world."

He added that Tourism Ireland will be pulling out all the stops to maximise the tourism potential of the prestigious race.

"We will also continue to highlight iconic experiences all over Northern Ireland - including Titanic Belfast, the Giant's Causeway and our unique National Trust properties. The Causeway Coastal Route, and driving holidays to Northern Ireland, will also be promoted widely."

© UTV News
Comments Comments
s in Belfast wrote (140 days ago):
That'll be because of those flag protestors... oh, sorry, did you say an increase in tourism... no comment then
Thomas in Co Antrim wrote (141 days ago):
Interesting news given that all I have been hearing all year is how the flag protests are putting off tourists... Evidently the tourists are not put off visiting Northern Ireland at all!
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