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Published on : Saturday, May 30, 2015
The key findings are:
· last year the number of overnight trips within Northern Ireland by all visitors (domestic and external) was 4.5 million, an 11% increase on 2013. Expenditure associated with these trips increased by 4% to £751m in 2014.
· the estimated number of external overnight trips (visitors from Great Britain, Republic of Ireland & outside UK/Ireland) increased by 4% to 2.2m in 2014. However expenditure associated with these trips decreased by 3% (to £514m) – the stronger pound may well have influenced this fall;
· over 15million visits were made to local Visitor Attractions in 2014, a 3% increase on 2013. When parks/forests are excluded the top attractions in 2014 were the Giant’s Causeway (0.788 million visits) and Titanic Belfast (0.634 million visits) – both experienced a 5% increase in visitor numbers;
· hotel room occupancy stood at 65% in 2014, up from 64% in 2013. Occupancy in the self-catering sector also rose marginally. However, room occupancy in the bed & breakfast and guesthouse sector fell from 30% in 2013 to 28% in 2014;
· last year, 69 cruise ships docked here with up to 121,000 passengers and crew on board. The local cruise ship market has doubled in size over the last three years;
· the increase in all external overnight trips to Northern Ireland at 4% was lower than external tourism growth in the UK (up 6%) and the Republic of Ireland (up 11%). However, within this group, NI witnessed a 12% increase in external holiday makers, greater than in the UK (up 8%) or RoI (up 9%); and
· in spite of some challenges, most notably the strength of the pound, these statistics indicate overall growth in local tourism last year.