Northern Ireland Tourist Board

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NI Annual and Quarterly Tourism Performance

St George's Market

Summary reports published by Tourism NI

Annual and Quarterly Tourism Performance Statistics are published by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) and the Central Statistics Office (CSO). Tourism Northern Ireland produces reports to provide an overview of these and other statistics, together with competitor performance and industry sentiment.

The latest tourism data released by NISRA indicate a positive 2018 for NI tourism with record spend

Figures estimate that during Jan-Dec 2018 NI welcomed 5m visitors, who stayed for 16m nights.  Visitor spend reached a record breaking £968m (£42m more compared with 2017). Some £2.7m was spent on average each day during Jan-Dec 2018 (up from £2.5m in 2017).

NI attracted a previously unsurpassed 2.8m overnight visitors from outside NI. Growth was largely driven by the ROI market (+23%). GB and other overseas trips increased by 2%.

The additional £42m in overall spend was attributable to the closer to home markets (GB, NI and ROI), with the strong exchange rate possibly encouraging ROI residents to spend more.

Strong growth was evident for business trips as well as trips to visit friends/relatives.  Holiday trips declined slightly due to fewer NI residents holidaying at home. ROI and GB & Other Overseas holiday trips grew by 7% and 12% respectively. 

2018 was a record year for NI hotels in terms of room and bed sales (hotel stock increased significantly during the year), with Q1 2019 figures showing continued growth in sales.

Overall, industry feedback suggests that businesses are generally optimistic about 2019 performance.


Continued Strong ROI Performance

The strong performance delivered by the ROI market in 2017 has continued into the first quarter of 2018.  Figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) suggest ROI visitors stayed longer and spent more  in NI than they did during Jan-March 2017.  NI realised  significant growth of 29% in  ROI holiday trips during the first quarter of 2018 (following on from 40% growth during Jan-March 2017.  The holiday growth was possibly helped by the fact that most of the Easter weekend fell during Q1 in 2018, but occurred during the second quarter of 2017.  Overall trips were down slightly, largely due to declines in those visiting friends/relatives.  These visitors may have deferred a trip to see their NI friends/relatives because of the poor weather conditions experienced during Jan-March 2018.  This largely positive Jan-March 2018 performance follows on from a very strong first quarter in 2017, which delivered double digit growth for many key performance metrics.