Northern Ireland Tourist Board

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North American Markets

The USA is the second most important tourism market for the island of Ireland and, together with Canada, 165,000 visitors arrived in Northern Ireland in 2013. Visitors from the U.S. and Canada often include a trip to Northern Ireland as part of a wider European tour and include Northern Ireland as part of an overall trip to the island of Ireland. They form an excellent target market for Northern Ireland as they speak English and are easy to promote too due to their high usage of digital channels. Northern Ireland welcomes a higher proportion of Canadian visitors in comparison to other markets. Typically, a third of Canadians visit Northern Ireland when holidaying on the island of Ireland. As the island of Ireland is a long-haul destination, North American visitors are likely to use tour operators when they plan their travel.

Cultural and ancestral links are a key motivator for visits to Northern Ireland from people living in North America. 36 million Americans claim Irish ancestry and there are 25 million people of Northern Irish descent in North America. While here they are very keen to visit historical and cultural sites and their use of hotels is higher than the other main markets.

Over 65% of US holidaymakers stay in a hotel during their visit and hotels account for over half of all US holidaymaker bed nights.

50% of US holidaymakers hire a car while here.

Over 70% of US holidaymakers use the internet to book all or part of their holiday.

Over 50% of Canadian visitors are over 45.

A third of Canadian holidaymakers– and approximately 1 in 7 US holidaymakers – come to NI whilst visiting the island of Ireland

Visitors stay for on average 8 nights on the island of Ireland.
• Often it is their first visit and they are keen to tour the island.
• 60% of visitors are over 35.
• They are high spenders.
• Golf is often a key draw for many North American visitors.

Specific nuances for North American market segments

Social Energisers
More likely to actively explore the places they visit to get a real sense of its culture
More attracted by ‘wow factor’ / once-in-a lifetime experiences
More interested in historic / world famous sites of interest

Culturally Curious
More inclined to try experiences that are new for them including local food & drink
More likely to use their holiday to indulge in a little extravagance
Getting good weather is less important

Great Escapers
More inclined to have planned itineraries with less room for spontaneity
Slightly more motivated by seeing world famous sites and places