A review of tourism statistics was commissioned after the previous approach appeared to under-report the province’s performance. The new figures indicate that 1.98 million visitors from external markets arrived last year. A previous estimate had calculated 1.03 million visitors between January and September 2012.
This represents a 3 per cent increase in visitors from outside the province between 2011 and 2012. The number of business tourists decreased slightly from 305,000 in 2011 to 303,000 in 2012. The vast majority of these (219,000) came from Great Britain, followed by 37,000 from continental Europe, 22,000 from the Republic of Ireland, 17,000 from North America and 8,000 from elsewhere in the world.
The Northern Ireland Tourist Board’s 2012 Visitor Attitude Survey found that visitors’ highest expectations were as follows: a unique and high quality tourism offering; high quality service; a vibrant economy; easy access and convenient transport; a clean and green natural environment; and “authentic” communities.
The Tourist Board is responsible for promoting Northern Ireland within the island of Ireland while Tourism Ireland promotes the whole island to potential tourists in Great Britain and the overseas markets.