John Mc Grillen Tourism NI

Tourism NI welcomes record breaking visitor numbers from the Republic of Ireland in 2022

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15th February 2023

Tourism NI welcomes record breaking visitor numbers from the Republic of Ireland in 2022

Trips from RoI surge by 52.6% as spending rises by £66.5M

Tourism NI’s Chief Executive John McGrillen has welcomed latest statistics that show a record-breaking number of trips were made by people from the Republic of Ireland to Northern Ireland between January and September last year, with significant increases in spending of over £66.5million compared to 2019.

The figures from the Republic’s Central Statistics Office’s (CSO) Household Travel Survey show that between January and September there were more than 809,000 (+53%) trips from the Republic to Northern Ireland compared to 530,000 during the same period in 2019, which included The Open at Royal Portrush and at the time was a record-breaking year.

Mr McGrillen said the latest statistics demonstrate that Northern Ireland is firmly on the short break radar for people from the Republic of Ireland.

He said: “I am delighted that the latest CSO statistics confirm our own consumer testing over the last number of years. What is more, our research indicates that a significant number of people from the South are travelling to the North for the first time on leisure breaks. In addition two out of every three say they intend to return.

“Tourism NI’s high profile Embrace a Giant Spirit re-brand has played a pivotal role in driving increased visitor numbers and capitalising on the staycation trend across the island that had started to surge prior to 2020 and was accelerated by the pandemic.”

Mr McGrillen added that with sustained and planned marketing investment there is further growth and longevity in the Republic of Ireland market.

“We are increasing our share of the all-island staycation market and there is significantly more potential and more revenue to be gained for Northern Ireland businesses,” he said.

Buoyed by the positive RoI statistics, Tourism NI is confident the tourism industry in Northern Ireland is on course to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Mr McGrillen added: “In addition to these strong results from the RoI market, we are seeing strong demand from markets including the USA, GB and Europe and evidence that these markets are rebounding.

“Looking ahead we are optimistic for 2023. Visitors to Northern Ireland have more to look forward to including the multi-million pound upgrade of Titanic Belfast, screen tourism attractions including the Game of Thrones Studio tour and a growing number of Derry Girls experiences, a burgeoning food and drink offering and festivals and events that are special to Northern Ireland.

“Together we are doing all we can to build on this success and provide support for the challenges that still face the industry including recruitment and retention, cost concerns and concerns about the introduction of an electronic travel authorisation scheme.”