Tourism NI has welcomed a 36% surge in the number of tourists visiting Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland in 2016.
Some £192,000 was spent each day by visitors from the Republic of Ireland on overnight trips to Northern Ireland resulting in a £70m boost to the local economy, an additional £9m on the same period in 2015.
“Growing Republic of Ireland visitor numbers and spend is a key objective for Tourism NI,” said CEO John McGrillen.
“The 19% increase in holiday trips is particularly welcome and shows that the Republic of Ireland visitor market is vital to the local tourism sector.
“We launched our Say Hello to More advertising campaign in September, working collaboratively with the industry to combine our marketing efforts.
“The growth in visitor numbers and spend is encouraging for the tourism industry and proves the power and significant return on investment when we work together.”
Stating that Tourism NI’s own research supported the Central Statistics Office (CSO) findings, he said they signalled a positive outlook for 2017, with most tourism operators anticipating continued growth in the year ahead.
“The growth in Republic of Ireland visitors to Northern Ireland signals a shift in Northern Ireland’s reputation as a short break destination. We at Tourism NI are committed to working in partnership with the tourism industry to build on this success into 2017 and beyond.”