Economy Minister Simon Hamilton has welcomed a continued positive performance in the tourism sector.
The Minister was speaking as the 2015 Annual Tourism Statistics Report was published. He said: “In total, tourism in 2015 generated £760million and of this £541million representing an increase of 5%, was brought into the economy from external markets.
“Our combined visitor numbers for external and domestic continue at the record level of 4.5million – our original target for 2020. This is very positive and points to continued overall growth in local tourism, a sector which is becoming an increasingly important driver for the Northern Ireland economy.”
The Minister welcomed the 23% increase in business visitors. He said: “This is particularly important as business visitors generally spend more than holiday visitors. This augurs well for the future of business tourism which will be boosted by the newly opened conference facilities at the Waterfront Hall.”
In conclusion, the Minister emphasised the importance of the tourism industry. He said: “Tourism is now recognised as a key economic driver for Northern Ireland. The potential for growth is huge. The industry represents 5.2% of our Gross Domestic Product and supports 5.4% of jobs in the total workforce, providing opportunities across all skill levels and all local council areas.
"I intend to bring forward a new Tourism Strategy for the next 10 years to drive growth in this important sector. I want to work across government and with the industry to build an internationally competitive and inspiring destination of which we are all proud.”
Notes to editors:
1. Tourism statistics can be accessed on the Tourism Statistics web site
2. For media enquiries, please contact Department for Economy Press Office on 028 9052 9604. Outside office hours, please contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned