Giant leap in number of visitors to the North from the Republic
South-North holiday traffic hits record levels, with nearly 600,000 trips made last year
According to the latest tourism report the Giants Causeway remained the top tourist attraction in the North last year with Titanic Belfast next and then the Ulster Museum
Northern Ireland attracted a record number of visitors from the Republic last year who made an unprecedented 591,000 trips North and spent more than £108 million during their visits, latest tourism figures show.
The majority of visitors from the Republic, 43 per cent, travelled to the North for a holiday and stayed for an average of nearly three days, according to the annual statistics.
Overall, thanks to the continuing pull of headline attractions suchas Game of Thrones experiences and the Titanic, the total number of visitors, domestically and internationally, to Northern Ireland increased to five million last year.
On average, these visitors spent £2.7 million (€3 million) each day during their trips, which helped boost tourism revenue in 2018 in the North to a record high of £968 million in 2018 – an increase of £42 million on equivalent 2017 revenues.
John McGrillen, chief executive of Tourism NI, the agency responsible for marketing Northern Ireland as a tourist destination to domestic tourists, said the latest annual figures show that “closer to home” markets are driving both growth and visitor spending levels.
Tourism NI believes the strength of the euro during 2018 may have helped to encourage residents from the Republic to spend more during their trips North.
The latest tourism report by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency also shows that a record number of overseas visitors, 2.218 million in total, travelled to Northern Ireland during 2018.
There was a significant increase in the number of visitors from North America, which grew year on year by 22 per cent, and the Great Britain market, which increased by 10 per cent.
It has been estimated 2.21 million rooms – the highest on record – were sold in Northern Ireland hotels during 2018.
According to the report, the Giants Causeway remained the top tourist attraction in the North last year, with Titanic Belfast next and then the Ulster Museum.