Northern Ireland Tourist Board

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St Patrick's Trail at Slemish

St Patrick's Trail at Slemish

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 first quarter of 2018 for NI tourism particularly in terms of visitor spend.

Figures estimate that during Jan-March 2018 just under one million overnight trips were taken in NI.  Tourists stayed for 3.1 million nights, generating £180 million (£13 million or 8% more than in the same period in 2017). This equates to some £2.0 million spent by tourists every day during Jan-March 2018.  The growth in spend, can be attributed to all markets, particularly ROI and the domestic market where growth was 11% and 16% respectively. 
Nearly half a million overnight trips were taken by visitors from outside NI during the first quarter of the year, contributing approximately £120 million in visitor spend to the NI economy.  Decreases in trips were apparent for each of our main market areas, with the exception of the domestic (NI) market where the number of trips exceeded half a million – greater than all other markets combined.

The comparative drop in holiday trips was more than offset by the increase in business trips, with declines indicated for those visiting friends/relatives.  Holiday trips accounted for 40% of all trips taken in NI during Q1 2018 compared with 43% in Q1 2017, conversely business trips grew from a 10% share of all trips in Q1 2017 to 14% in Q1 2018.

The poor weather conditions in January will have had a part to play in these overall minor decreases in trips and nights.  

Hotels achieved previously unsurpassed occupancy and sales during the first quarter of the year and TNI’s July 2018 Industry Tourism Barometer also saw the tourism industry in a positive mood, with the outlook strong for the remainder of 2018.



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.