TOURISM Ireland today launched details of its marketing plans to promote Northern Ireland overseas in 2017, at an event attended by tourism industry leaders from around Northern Ireland.
2016 is set to be the best year ever for overseas tourism to Northern Ireland; by year end, almost 2.1 million people will have visited Northern Ireland.
In 2017, Tourism Ireland aims to build on this year’s performance and to welcome 2.15 million visitors to Northern Ireland.
This figure will represent growth of +3.4% over 2016 and deliver £557 million to the Northern Ireland economy (+5.6%) next year.
In 2017, Tourism Ireland will continue to promote major Northern Ireland themes and attractions around the world – including the Causeway Coastal Route, Titanic Belfast (Europe’s Leading Tourist Attraction), the Giant’s Causeway, our National Trust properties and our world-class golf.
Tourism Ireland will continue to highlight our wonderful food scene, building on the legacy of Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink.
Screen tourism will remain a priority, as Tourism Ireland continues to capitalise on Northern Ireland’s connection with Game of Thrones, building on the success of its award-winning ‘Doors of Thrones’ campaign this spring.
And, Tourism Ireland will also leverage the tourism benefits of the semi-finals and final of the Women’s Rugby World Cup, which will take place in Belfast in August 2017.
Latest estimates indicate that, by year end, almost 2.1 million people will have visited Northern Ireland, representing a +6% increase over 2015.
Revenue generated by international visitors is expected to be €527 million, a +9% increase over last year.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “2016 will be the best year ever for overseas tourism to Northern Ireland. Throughout the year, Tourism Ireland undertook a packed programme of promotions, to bring Northern Ireland to the attention of travellers everywhere.
“Thousands ofopportunities were created for potential visitors around the world to read, hear or watch positive messages about Northern Ireland; Tourism Ireland estimates that this media exposure is worth an estimated £104 million in equivalent advertising value.
“Other positives in 2016 have included Tourism Ireland’s strength in digital and social media (the organisation is the fourth most popular tourism board in the world on Facebook, with more than 3.7 million fans and over 700 million digital connections).”
Tourism Ireland’s targets for 2017 will see Northern Ireland welcome 2.15 million visitors, representing growth of +3.4% over 2016.
Commenting on the year ahead, Niall Gibbons said: “We are heading into 2017 in a position of some strength, based on the success of 2016.
“Tourism Ireland will create ‘stand out’ for Northern Ireland around the world next year, highlighting iconic experiences like Titanic Belfast and the Causeway Coastal Route.
“We will continue our successful partnership with HBO, to highlight Northern Ireland – through the exciting events of Game of Thrones – on the global stage.
“Priority markets will include GB, Mainland Europe, North America, and Australia and Developing Markets.
“We will continue to monitor the implications of Brexit on outbound travel from GB. We are committed to ensuring that Northern Ireland continues to increase its share of the global travel business.”
In 2017, Tourism Ireland will provide thousands of promotional engagements for Northern Ireland tourism enterprises and trade partners overseas – to help them do business overseas and facilitate them to ‘close the sale’, particularly in the digital space.