Northern Ireland local government district tourism statistics 2017

Date published: 27 July 2018


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 2017 was to Belfast LGD (1.5 million). Nearly a third of overnight trips to Northern Ireland were to this area (30% of all overnight trips);
  • The breakdowns of reason for visit varies by area. For example, the estimates show that 76% 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;
  • Antrim & Newtownabbey attracted the highest relative proportion of business trips; accounting for approximately 16% of all overnight trips in the LGD;
  • An estimated 1.0 million hotel rooms were sold in Belfast LGD in 2017, the highest of any area.  Derry and Strabane LGD was the second highest with an estimated 179 thousand hotel rooms sold.

Taken together with other data sources and over a longer time period, statistical estimates point towards an upward trend in tourism activity in Northern Ireland between 2011 and 2017. This may not be the case for each Local Government District, and all available sources should be taken together to provide a fuller picture and indication of tourism activity at LGD level.  

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