By ELEANOR MCGILLIE 23 August, 2018

Live It Experience It welcomes Northern Ireland tourism statistics released today. Overseas visitor spend in Northern Ireland is on the increase. With so many amazing places to stay, places to eat and things to do in Northern Ireland – this is great news for our tourism businesses.

Figures from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) today show that almost 380,000 overseas visitors travelled to Northern Ireland in the first quarter of this year while revenue grew by 3 per cent.

Although visitor numbers during this period are down by 6 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2017, the spend has increased to over £98million.

There are so many things to see and to do in Northern Ireland, so many places to stay, a fantastic array of chefs plating up great local produce in our pubs and restaurants and so many activities to keep our visitors entertained.

Overseas tourism delivers about £566 million per year for the Northern Ireland economy helping to sustain over 61,000 jobs in local communities.

Speaking about the statistics released today, Eleanor McGillie, of Live It Experience It, said: “Our tourism businesses have so much to offer so it’s no surprise overseas visitors want to holiday in Northern Ireland.

“Our people are friendly and welcoming, our landscapes are stunning, our coast is full of fun, and, combine our food producers and our chefs and you will have a very good plate put in front of you.

“We have running tours of Belfast and the Causeway Coast with Born To Run Tours, guided walking tours with Dalriada Kingdom Tours and Nine Glens Walking Tours, time out in tearooms such as Allens of Caledon and Armagh and Back of Beyond, fantastic places to stay including Largy Coastal Apartments in Carnlough Bay, Ballyeamon Barn Hostel in Glenariffe and Maddybenny to name just a few. There are so many amazing people telling the story of Northern Ireland. Our tourism businesses have such a role to play in terms of sharing their story so our visitors know what’s available here when they visit.”

Tell Your Story with LIve It Experience It

Live It Experience It members consist of hotels, pubs and restaurants, chefs, places to stay as well as land, water and air based activity providers and so businesses, such as these, are key to contributing to the overall customer experience.

We all work together to promote Northern Ireland by telling the stories of our members and what experience they can offer travellers.

The statistics released today are to be welcomed.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Figures published by NISRA today confirm that we welcomed almost 380,000 overseas visitors to Northern Ireland in the first quarter of 2018. While overseas visitor numbers are down for Q1, I am pleased to note that spend by overseas visitors is up +3% on the first three months in 2017.

“Today’s figures align with feedback we received from our industry partners in Northern Ireland about the first quarter. However, I am pleased to report that sentiment in general for 2018 from our tourism partners overseas (including tour operators and carriers), as well as our industry partners here at home (including hoteliers and visitor attractions), is largely optimistic.”

Niall Gibbons continued: “Tourism Ireland is rolling out an extensive programme of promotions throughout 2018, to highlight Northern Ireland around the world. We continue to create ‘stand out’ for Northern Ireland, highlighting attractions and experiences like Titanic Belfast, the Causeway Coastal Route and our National Trust properties; and to leverage our connection with Game of Thrones. Tourism Ireland’s activity also includes a focus on golf and the fact that Royal Portrush will host The Open in 2019. We are committed to ensuring that Northern Ireland continues to increase its share of the global travel business.”

Glenara Elite Travel is a Live It Experience It Member

Live It Experience It’ is a group of tourism businesses working together to promote our region through water, air and land based activities, food and drink and great places to stay. If you would like to become a member business in our ‘Live It Experience It’ cluster please submit your information through our online form –  Sign Up Here. Pitch your business and meet like minded tourism businesses who you could cluster with. #liveitexperienceit

Live It Experience It is a group of journalists and travel writers who tell the stories of our members who are tourism businesses offering accommodation, activities and great places for food and drink in Northern Ireland.


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Eleanor McGillie

About Eleanor McGillie

Eleanor spent eight years working in the south west of England - one of the UK's most popular tourism hotspots. During her stint working with key players in the tourism sector she developed a love for all things outdoor adventure. As a journalist she got to travel to remote corners of the world to write travel features about the experiences of a particular place. Northern Ireland's story needs to be told and needs to reach new audiences. Live It Experience It aims to attract tourists from outside Ireland, people from Ireland and people who live in Northern Ireland but aren't aware of the extent of the adventures on our own doorsteps. Eleanor is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM) at Associate Level