Economy Minister welcomes healthy summer tourism performance

Date published: 10 November 2016

Economy Minister Simon Hamilton has welcomed today’s NISRA occupancy statistics for January to September which have revealed record room occupancy levels over the summer period, with August hotel occupancy reaching 88%, the highest on record for any month.

The occupancy statistics confirm findings in Tourism NI’s latest Industry Barometer that shows an increase in hotel visits, strong mid-week breaks performance and a positive upturn in the Republic of Ireland market

Commenting on the latest occupancy statistics and the Tourism Barometer Simon Hamilton said:  “Overall there was an 8% increase in bed spaces sold in hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs for the first nine months of the year which equates to 237,100 additional bed spaces sold compared to the same period last year. Moreover, record hotel occupancy in August continued into September which is very encouraging for tourism businesses wishing to grow their off peak markets.

“Tourism NI’s latest research confirms an upward trend over the summer, with all sectors of the industry reporting stronger performance in September compared to June and Belfast accommodation, in particular, reporting a strong summer. Encouragingly growth was driven by all markets, particularly European and long haul markets, with GB and Republic of Ireland markets also performing well over the summer.”

Tourism NI Chief Executive John McGrillen said there was a positive outlook for the remainder for year.  He said:  “Industry sentiment for the rest of the year is generally good, and particularly positive regarding the Republic of Ireland market.  Guesthouses and hotels report a more optimistic outlook than this time last year, with attractions, golf clubs and activity providers positive too. 

“Factors that may bode well over the rest of the year include recent favourable currency movements and this will potentially be supported by improvements in air connectivity over the winter, up 18% on winter 2015, with 10 new routes from Spain, Poland, Germany and Italy and a new route to Brussels.”

Notes to editors: 

  1. Summer 2016 at a glance Titanic Belfast - had a record breaking August and highest ever number of visitors recorded in a single day (4,200)Marble Arch Caves - reported their best summer on recordCarrick-A-Rede – attracted up to 4000 visitors on peak days during July and AugustCarrickfergus Museum - increases in European visitors throughout the summerArmagh Planetarium - attracted more NI and ROI visitorsBushmills Distillery - enjoyed a growth in visitors and a noticeable growth in Asian markets.Cruise ships - an additional 15 docked in July and August following an additional 9 between January and June.
  2. For Tourism NI’s Industry Barometer please click on website.  
  3. For Tourism NI’s summary of the latest NISRA occupancy figures click on; Northern Ireland Accommodation Performance Jan-Sep 2016 At a Glance
  4. For media enquiries contact DFE Press Office on 028 9052 9604. Out of office hours please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07623 974383 and your call will be returned.
  5. Follow us on Twitter @Economy_NI

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