Tourism currently generates around $820 million for the local economy, and attracts upwards of 2.2 million visitors to Northern Ireland each year (Tourism Ireland). The North American markets of the United States and Canada are among the most important for tourism, delivering 15% of all overseas visitors and 27% of all overseas tourism revenue (Tourism Ireland). In 2017, Northern Ireland welcomed a record number of tourists from overseas, and this trend is likely to continue into 2018.
In the past number of years, the Northern Ireland tourism industry has benefited from major events such as the World Police & Fire Games, Derry-Londonderry’s tenure as U.K. City of Culture, and the Giro d’Italia. Future opportunities will likely arise in response to upcoming events like the 2019 Open, to be held at the Royal Portrush Golf Club, and the growing interest in screen tourism following the worldwide success of television shows like Game of Thrones.
Northern Ireland has also benefitted from other significant tourism developments, including the opening of Titanic Belfast, which was voted the “World’s Leading Tourist Attraction” in 2016 (World Travel Awards), and the creation of a new visitor centre at the Giant’s Causeway. Belfast and the Causeway Coast have also been recognized by Lonely Planet as the number one region to visit in 2018.
How We Can Help
The Bureau works with our partners at Tourism Ireland — which is responsible for marketing the island of Ireland overseas as a holiday destination — and Tourism Northern Ireland — which markets Northern Ireland as a destination for domestic tourists — to showcase the very best of what the region has to offer.