Tourism chiefs hail Northern Ireland visitor boost
Post by Karl Phillips
on 09 February 2012 in Travel & Leisure
New data has revealed that Northern Ireland's tourism sector enjoyed a major boost last year.
Official statistics show that income from tourism increased by 20 per cent year-on-year, to hit £291m during the first nine months of 2011. The growth was partly due to a 6 per cent rise in the number of overseas visitors.
However, according to a report by the Belfast Telegraph, the data has also pointed to a buoyant domestic tourism market, with more people choosing to spend their holidays closer to home.
Tourism minister Arlene Foster said: "The domestic market and the increasing popularity of the 'staycation' holiday is crucial to the long term sustainable growth of tourism in Northern Ireland."
It was announced last month that Royal Portrush has been chosen to host this year's Irish Open. It will be the first time the golf tournament has been held north of the border since 1953, and golf fans are expected to flock to the north coast, resulting in a major tourism boost for Northern Ireland.
Research carried out by holiday lettings firm cottages4you at the end of last year suggested that the UK as a whole would benefit from an increase in 'staycations' this year. The firm predicted that 91 per cent of British people will take a break in the UK during 2012, up 21 per cent on last year.