Tourism Ireland has welcomed a rise in visitor numbers and an increase in the amount spent as government statitics revealed a record 2.1 million overseas visitors came to Northern Ireland last year.
The figure from the Statistics and Research Agency marks a 9% increase - almost 168,000 people - more than 2015 who between them spent more than £543 million, a rise of 12% over the year before.
“Visitor numbers from mainland Europe grew by 15%, from GB by 7% and from North America by 9%,” said Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons.
“Overseas visitors delivered more than £543 million for the local economy, up 12%. Overseas holidaymakers increased by 15% in 2016 – a continuation of the positive trend since 2011, which has seen overseas holiday visitors grow by 58.7% and overseas holiday revenue by 79.5%.”
To ensure further growth, he said the agency was rolling out an extensive programme of promotions throughout 2017, to highlight Northern Ireland around the world.
“We are highlighting iconic experiences like Titanic Belfast, the Giant’s Causeway and our unique National Trust properties.
“And, once again, we will join forces with Game of Thrones creators HBO this summer, leveraging the huge popularity of the TV series to showcase Northern Ireland.”
The agemncy also intends to capitalise on the semi-finals and final of the Women’s Rugby World Cup, which will take place in Belfast in August.
“Our activity also includes a focus on golf and we’re taking every opportunity to highlight the 2017 Irish Open at Portstewart and the fact that Royal Portrush will host The Open in 2019,” he added.