Economy Minister Simon Hamilton MLA has welcomed a positive tourism performance in both the first half of 2016 and the 12 months to June 2016.
Tourism statistics released by NISRA today show a 5% increase in overall visitor spend and a 12% increase in external visitor expenditure.
The Minister said: “I am pleased that in the year to June 2016 visitors spent £789m in the local economy with 72% coming from external visitors - making tourism worth £571m as an export business. This is an increase of 5% in overall visitor spend when compared to the year to June 2015.
“The figures also indicate that visitors have generally been staying longer and spending more, leading to an increase in overall visitor expenditure in both the first half of 2016 and the year to June2016.
“The increases in nights and spend have been driven by a continued increase in external visitors particularly from GB and overseas. This is in line with our strategic aim to grow average nights and average spend per night of external visitors and grow the export value from tourism.”
Looking forward to the remainder of the year, Simon Hamilton said: “Tourism performance remains positive as the momentum created over the last few years continues to build. The latest occupancy statistics up to September 2016 show record room occupancy levels over the summer period. 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.
Tourism is an important sector for our economy and I intend to bring forward a new Tourism Strategy later this year to work with the industry to build an internationally competitive and inspiring destination of which we are all proud.”
Commenting on air passenger flow statistics for Northern Ireland up to June 2016, which are also published today the Minister said: “The overall growth in traffic through Northern Ireland airports is also very good news. There were 7.68 million air passengers flowing through Northern Ireland airports in the year to June 2016. This represents a 9% increase in passengers on the previous year and is a clear indication that growth is returning to the Northern Ireland air travel market.”
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