The latest local government district tourism statistics were published on 6 July 2017. The report provides a variety of estimates including; overnight trips and the associated number of nights and expenditure, rooms sold in commercial accommodation, visitor attraction visits, tourism employment and cruise ship visits.
The key points are:
the largest number of estimated overnight trips in 2016 was to Belfast LGD (1.5 million). Approximately three in ten overnight trips to Northern Ireland were to this area (31% of all overnight trips);
reason for visit varies by area. The estimates show that 73% of overnight trips to Causeway Coast & Glens LGD were for holiday purposes, whilst 72% of overnight trips to Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon LGD were for visiting friends and relatives;
Belfast and Antrim & Newtownabbey attract the bulk of business trips; accounting for approximately 16% of the overnight trips to Belfast and Antrim & Newtownabbey LGD’s;
Belfast LGD has the largest number of rooms in hotel accommodation (3,437 rooms or 43% of NI total), with an estimated 79% room occupancy level throughout 2016;
Taken together with other data sources and over the longer time period, statistical estimates point towards an upward trend in tourism activity in Northern Ireland between 2011 and 2016. This may not be the case for each Local Government District, and all available sources should be observed together to provide a fuller picture and indication of tourism activity at LGD level.