Republic’s residents are taking more trips to the North

Northern Ireland tourism boss says pound’s weakness is a key factor in the surge in visits

The Titanic Belfast attraction in Northern Ireland. The State’s residents have taken more trips to the North this year, according to the latest statistics. File photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire

The Titanic Belfast attraction in Northern Ireland. The State’s residents have taken more trips to the North this year, according to the latest statistics. File photograph: Paul Faith/PA Wire

 

The State’s residents have taken more trips to the North this year and spent millions more there than they did last year, according to the latest statistics.

Between January and June of this year, the State’s residents took a total of 221,000 trips to Northern Ireland – compared with 179,000 trips in the first half of 2016.

According to the latest figures from the Central Statistics Office, residents of the Republic spent €46.3 million in Northern Ireland in the first half of this year.

This is €17 million more than they spent during the same period in 2016, when they paid out €29.3 million during their trips to the North.

According to the government agency Tourism NI, the statistics highlight the big jump in the number of the State’s residents taking holidays in the North – overall figures are up by one-third in 2017.

Naomi Waite, Tourism NI’s director of marketing, believes one of the key factors behind the increase in visitors from the South is the strong buying power of their euro over the pound.

“Value for money is a key motivator for Republic of Ireland residents and the favourable exchange rates have helped to entice more visitors from this key market and encouraged them to spend more.

“The euro was worth 11 per cent more during January to June 2017 compared to the same period in 2016,” Ms Waite said.

New campaign

Tourism NI recently launched a new campaign, “Say Hello to More”, which hopes to encourage the Republic’s residents to stay longer when they visit the North.

Ms Waite said the campaign featured suggested 48-hour itineraries which showcase what the North has to offer visitors.

She said there were already positive signs that the weak pound will continue to help attract more of the State’s residents to the North.

“Findings from Tourism NI’s June 2017 Tourism Industry Barometer suggest a positive outlook for the remainder of the year, with hotels and attractions most optimistic and Titanic Belfast reporting a 16 per cent increase in Republic of Ireland visitors [in the] year to date,” Ms Waite added.