Published on : Friday, September 12, 2014
The board members took the opportunity to meet with various local tourism operators prior to the meeting, to discuss the 2014 season and Tourism Ireland’s extensive promotional programme to highlight Northern Ireland around the world.
They discussed Tourism Ireland’s busy schedule of activity which is under way in 22 markets overseas, to grow visitor numbers to Northern Ireland.
Priority markets are Great Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia, Germany and France, which together deliver more than four-fifths of all overseas visitors to Northern Ireland; but promotions also continue in another 16 markets across the world, including emerging markets like China and India.
Northern Ireland tourism growth driven by overseas
Official NISRA figures for the first quarter of 2014 show an increase of +4% in overseas visitors to Northern Ireland, when compared with the same three-month period in 2013 – with growth recorded from all market areas.
Holiday visitors from overseas grew by +13%, driven largely by GB (+15%) and North America (+37%); and overseas business or conference visitors increased by +10%. And, more significantly for the Northern Ireland economy, revenue from overseas visitors was up +6%, January-March 2014.
This first quarter performance comes on top of a +9% growth in overseas visitors in 2013, to
1.7 million – or an additional 140,000 overseas visitors compared with 2012. In 2013, GB visitors to Northern Ireland grew by +13%, assisted by the roll-out of Tourism Ireland’s “GB Path to Growth” strategy.
Revenue for the Northern Ireland economy from overseas visitors also grew by +13%, in line with Programme for Government targets.
Overseas tourists visible on the ground in Northern Ireland this year
And the good news is that industry sentiment in Northern Ireland suggests growth from overseas has continued this year, into the high season, with our major tourism attractions reporting significant growth in overseas visitors.
These include Titanic Belfast (visitor numbers up +12% to the end of July, particularly from North America), National Museums Northern Ireland (visitor numbers up +11% for the April to July period, underpinned in particular by strong growth from Mainland Europe and North America) and the National Trust (visitors up +13% for the March to July period).
Since Tourism Ireland was established in 2002, almost 20 million overseas visitors have come to Northern Ireland, generating approximately £3.8 billion for the economy against a total investment in overseas marketing of £160 million.
Overseas revenue to the Northern Ireland economy has also grown by +81% over the same period.
Brian Ambrose, Chairman of Tourism Ireland, said: “We were delighted to be in Downpatrick for this month’s board meeting and to have the chance to meet with representatives of the tourism industry from across the province.
It also afforded us the opportunity to discuss the extensive promotional programme which Tourism Ireland is undertaking around the world this year, to build on the success of 2013 and continue to grow visitor numbers to Northern Ireland in 2014.
“Figures for the first quarter of 2014 show that revenue from overseas visitors to Northern Ireland grew by +6%, compared with the same three-month period in 2013.
We saw good growth in visitors from GB, including a +15% increase in holiday visitors and +11% growth in business or conference visitors.
I am also pleased to report that sentiment expressed by our industry partners suggests growth from overseas has continued into the high season. With the ongoing success of our major attractions like Titanic Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway, as well as double-digit growth experienced to date this year by National Museums Northern Ireland and the National Trust, the huge popularity of Game of Thrones, as well as the unstoppable Rory McIlroy and Carl Frampton, we certainly have cause to be optimistic. I am confident that our extensive promotional programme showcasing Northern Ireland around the world this autumn will deliver further success.”
Millions of people across the world see Tourism Ireland campaigns promoting Northern Ireland. Tourism Ireland’s focus in the early part of this year was on highlighting the Grande Partenza of the Giro d’Italia.
Tourism Ireland also joined forces with Game of Thrones creators HBO, on a ground-breaking advertising and social media campaign in nine markets, leveraging the incredible success of Game of Thrones and its strong associations with Northern Ireland.
And, with the biggest Northern Ireland team ever competing in this summer’s Commonwealth Games, Tourism Ireland took every opportunity to maximize the potential of the Games for tourism to Northern Ireland.
The organisation targets people of Ulster Scots descent; and continues to highlight the St Patrick’s Trail, the Causeway Coastal Route and driving holidays to Northern Ireland, as well as iconic experiences all over Northern Ireland – including Titanic Belfast, the Giant’s Causeway and our unique National Trust properties.
Working with overseas travel, lifestyle and special interest media is another important element of Tourism Ireland’s promotional programme.
In 2013, Tourism Ireland generated positive publicity for Northern Ireland worth an estimated £65.5 million in EAV (equivalent advertising value) from around 2,000 print, online or broadcast articles and stories.
Source:- Tourism Ireland