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Published on : Friday, July 7, 2017
The new government statistics indicate that Belfast is expanding its share of the tourism sector in the north, with nearly a third of visitors opting for this region as their most favored destination. In 2016, about 1.5 million tourists had relished an overnight stay in Belfast, while 31% of the total 4.7 million tourists had arrived in the north.
The figures increased slightly as compared to the last year. And, the aggregate tourism spending also started increasing as compared to that in the last 12 months.
Glens council district and the Causeway Coast was ranked second behind Belfast, and the councils of Craigavon. Banbridge and Armagh City witnessed the lowest number of overnight tourists was estimated at 144,977. The figures suggest that the tourists were able to usher in as much as £850 million into the regional economy last year.
Out of this, 39% was spent in Belfast amounting to £334 million and the overall increased spending was calculated to be higher than £86 million all across the council areas.
But then, Belfast is the region witnessing the largest increase year-on-year, with an extra £55 million that was spent within the city council area.
The strong Belfast figures were extended to the hotel trade. And, the city had started selling 991,000 rooms in the course of last year and held about 79% room occupancy level representing the highest out of all the regions of Northern Ireland. In the north, Belfast is known to have the largest number of hotel rooms with 3,437 rooms marking about 43% of the Northern Ireland total.
A large portion of the tourists from outside Northern Ireland belonged to Great Britain. Approximately 1.4 million had visited from Britain and this was followed closely by North America and Europe.
Colin Neill who is the chief executive of Hospitality Ulster said that the figures portrayed the significance of the tourism industry to the local economy.