2016, the best year for overseas tourism in Northern Ireland

Published on : Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Tourism northern irelandOverseas Tourism looked really promising in 2016 as Northern Ireland experienced more than 2.1 million visitors which is a 6 percent increase over 2015. This economic boost contributed almost £527 million revenue to the country. Since 2002, 25.3 million overseas tourists visited Northern Ireland that generated more than £5.5 billion for the economy of the country.

The tourism activities promoted the Food and Drink of Northern Ireland, the Causeway Coastal Route, and Belfast and Titanic Belfast. Besides, it also highlighted Ireland’s famous Game of Thrones campaign all through the spring. To quote Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, ‘2016 looks set to be the best year ever for overseas tourism to Northern Ireland. Throughout the year, Tourism Ireland undertook a packed program of promotions, to bring Northern Ireland to the attention of travelers everywhere. We highlighted Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink, with launches in New York, London, Glasgow and Dubai. And, our award-winning Game of Thrones campaign reached some 61 million people around the world. Thousands of opportunities were created for potential visitors everywhere to read, hear or watch positive messages about Northern Ireland; Tourism Ireland estimates that this media exposure is worth an estimated £104 million in equivalent advertising value’.

This month, plans to promote Northern Ireland in 2017 have been initiated with a target of 2.15million visitors annually. On this context, Niall Gibbons said, ‘We are heading into 2017 in a position of some strength, based on the success of 2016. Tourism Ireland will create ‘stand out’ for Northern Ireland, highlighting iconic experiences like Titanic Belfast and the Causeway Coastal Route. We will also promote Belfast, in particular for shoulder and off-peak travel. We will continue our successful partnership with HBO, to highlight Northern Ireland – through the exciting events of Game of Thrones – on the global stage. And, Tourism Ireland will also leverage the tourism benefits of major sporting events, including the Irish Open at Portstewart Golf Club in July and the semi-finals and final of the Women’s Rugby World Cup, which will take place in Belfast in August 2017’.

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