Northern Ireland Tourist Board

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NI & ROI Markets


NI Market

Northern Ireland short break takers can continue to be a profitable market for the tourism industry. Typically, a third of short breaks booked by Northern Ireland residents are ‘staycations’. In 2013, Northern Ireland residents took 2 million domestic overnight trips, approximately half of which were for holiday/leisure purposes and a further quarter for visiting friends and relatives. The day trip market is also an important consideration with 7.5 million day trips taken by Northern Ireland residents in 2013.

Convenience and value for money are the most important considerations in choosing to holiday at home with two thirds of customers spending more time looking for special offers than they used to. Having made the decision to stay in Northern Ireland customers are likely to seek out natural beauty and find somewhere they can spend time as a couple or a family. Nearly 50% of trips within Northern Ireland are to spend time with family and 25% of people want to relax and get away from it all.

Where else do NI customers want to go?

  • Short breaks in Republic of Ireland
  • Short breaks in GB (England and Scotland in particular)
  • European city breaks

Why might they go elsewhere?

  • Weather
  • Lack of differentiation
  • Perceived as expensive

ROI Market

Short breaks are popular amongst Republic of Ireland residents and there remains huge potential to attract more to Northern Ireland. There is a growing recognition in the Republic of Ireland that Northern Ireland is growing and changing – a region with a distinctive character and real and genuine people. Currently, however, Northern Ireland accounts for only 5% of all short breaks taken by Republic of Ireland residents so, although there are similarities between the customer from Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland, the perception of the desirability of Northern Ireland as a destination is currently very different. 

There are 10 million short breaks per year taken by Republic of Ireland residents and less than half a million of these are taken in Northern Ireland with obvious scope for growth despite the economic climate.

Unlocking the Growth Potential 
An independent ROI Tourism Taskforce was set up back in 2015 to look at ways to stabilise performance and drive sustainable growth from this market. The Taskforce launched a report and action plan for unlocking the full potential of the ROI Short Break Market. Details of this report can be found here.

Motivations for taking a short break from Republic of Ireland are similar to those from Northern Ireland with people seeking an escape from daily pressures and somewhere to spend time with family or as a couple.

Value for money and good offers are key considerations for Republic of Ireland short break takers.

Where else do ROI customers want to go?

  • Staycations in Republic of Ireland
  • Short breaks in Great Britain
  • European city breaks

Why might they go elsewhere?

  • Access to other (cheaper) destinations by air
  • Concerns about safety and security
  • Hassle of converting to sterling
  • Ease of flying elsewhere