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Northern Ireland tourism chief welcomes 48% increase in spending from Republic



Northern Ireland’s tourism chief has welcomed the spike in the number of nights and the money people from the Republic are spending in the six counties.

Figures from the CSO, released last week, show an increase in tourism flowing across the borders, with 1.3 million overnight trips taken by visitors from the Republic to Northern Ireland in 2023, up 46% compared to 2022.

These trips translated into almost 3 million overnight stays and spending of more than £267m, an increase of 48% on the numbers recorded in 2022.

The CSO data showed that all types of tourism grew rapidly in 2023 – holiday trips, visiting friends and relatives, and business tourism.

Research conducted by Tourism NI has found that the vast majority of Republic of Ireland visitors to NI had their expectations matched or exceeded.

The range of things to see and do, the quality of food and drink, and the warmth of the welcome were rated most highly.

Tourism NI noted that the influx of visitors from the south provided a very important source of income for the tourism industry at a time when the recovery in visitors from other countries was much slower.

Tourism NI Chief Executive, John McGrillen said: “These results are exceptional, especially given the tough economic climate and the increased levels of competition from other destinations. 

“We are clearly reaping the rewards of additional investment in new visitor experiences in recent years, and increased marketing and promotion in the Republic of Ireland.

John McGrillen Tourism NI Chief Executive

“Our research shows that every part of NI is benefiting from this investment and the very strong growth in visitor numbers and spend which has resulted from it.

“While there continues to be challenges for the industry, these results demonstrate tourism’s growth potential as we look to the future”.

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