Tourism statistics - background and further information

Information on the background of tourism statistics and further information.

Background to tourism statistics branch, NISRA

Responsibility for providing NI tourism statistics transferred to Tourism Statistics Branch (TSB) within the Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency (NISRA) from 1st April 2011. 

TSB is staffed by NISRA statisticians and is responsible for producing official tourism statistics in accordance with official statistics principles

More information on the transfer of tourism statistics from NITB to NISRA can be accessed on the following DETI page:

TTC review of tourism statistics

Prior to this transfer, TTC International was commissioned by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment (DETI) to undertake a review of the tourism statistics that are provided in Northern Ireland. The commission followed a procurement process by the Central Procurement Directorate of the Department of Finance and Personnel. Details of this review can be accessed in the following link:

Developing tourism statistics in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland Tourism Statistics have undergone a series of organisational changes and revisions to methodology. The document below is intended to provide an overview and explain any resultant breaks in the statistical series:

Statistics produced by TSB

Statistics produced include information on the performance of hotels, guesthouses, B&Bs and self-catering establishments; the number of visitors to attractions; overseas visitors; and domestic tourism. 

This will include a variety of measures, estimates of the number of people staying overnight in Northern Ireland, rooms sold in local accommodation, passenger levels at local ports, cruise ship visits, self catering occupancy levels, day trips taken by NI residents and visits to visitor attractions.

Publication schedule

The Tourism Statistics Publication Schedule 2017-2018 can be accessed by clicking on the link below:

Tourism Statisitcs branch work plan can be accessed by clicking on the link below:

Guide to surveys

The Tourism Statistics Guide to Surveys can be accessed on the following DETI page:

More information on data quality can be found at

More information on the quality of administrative sources can be found at

Tourism statistics archive publications can be accessed below

Official statistics

The UK Official Statistics Order, which came into force on 1 April 2009, brought statistics produced by the British Tourist Authority within scope of the terms of the UK Statistics and Registration Services Act (2007). This had the effect of designating GB tourism statistics as 'official' statistics.

In GB the British Tourist Authority will have to adhere to the principles and protocols of the Code of Practice for Official Statistics (the Code). In addition, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) created a Tourism Intelligence Unit to improve statistics relating to the tourism industry, the visitor economy and the economic impact of tourism.

To find out more information on Official Statistics, click on the below link to NISRA:

TSB and all its outputs will adhere to the principals and protocols of the Code of Practice for Official Statistics and will be monitored and assessed by the United Kingdom Statistics Authority (UKSA):

Pre-release access

Statement of Compliance in relation to the 'Pre-release Access to Official Statistics Order (Northern Ireland) 2009':

The complete list of those receiving pre-release access to Northern Ireland tourism statistics can be accessed below:

Statement of pre-release access to tourism statistics

Information on exceptions to standard pre-release access procedures are available:

Revisions

View details of Tourism Statistics Branch Statistics Revision Policy:

There was a revision on 12th August 2016 due to a revised weighting mechanism for the Household Travel Survey, conducted by Central Survey Office regarding overnight visitors to Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland. More information can be found at the link below.

The impact of this revision on the estimates for overall trips, nights and spend to NI was less than 1%. When looking at external overnight trips to NI, the biggest differences were in estimates of expenditure in 2013 and 2014 (1.3%). As per the Tourism Statistics Branch Revisions policy, TSB have published more information on the minor impact to tourism statistics at this link (impact of HTS methodological change August 2016). The change in methodology has been discussed at all-island Tourism Statistics groups and NISRA have followed up with key users following this to discuss implications, however the impact is small.

Please click on the link below to view the Department of Finance and Personnel Statement of Administration

User engagement

Minutes and details of user consultations and tourism consultations can be found below.

Other tourism statistics publications

Visitors to Ireland and Northern Ireland 2014: A Statistical Profile of Tourism’ is the result of close collaboration between the statistical services in both Ireland and Northern Ireland - the Central Statistics Office (CSO) in Ireland and the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) in Northern Ireland. More information on the report is available at

  • Visitors to Ireland and Northern Ireland 2014: A Statistical Profile of Tourism (to add

Tourism statistics early indicators can be accessed at the link below:


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Contacts for Tourism statistics - background and further information

Tourism Statistics

Tourism Statistics Branch
Colby House
Stranmillis Court
BELFAST
BT9 5RR

Telephone: +44(0)28 9052 9585

Email: tourismstatistics@nisra.gov.uk