Posted on Thursday 17 July 2014 by Ulster Business

Visitors make less trips but stay longer

Tourists to Northern Ireland are spending more

There were less overnight visitors to Northern Ireland last year but those that came stayed longer and spent more money, according to latest government statistics.

The Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment said total overnight visitor numbers dropped by 1% in the year to the end of March to 4.1m while expenditure by the same visitors climbed by 4% to £735m.

The number of nights stayed by those visitors who did come here climbed by 3% to 14.5m, the Tourism Statistics Bulletin said

The Northern Ireland Statistics & Research Agency which compiled the data blamed the drop in visitor numbers on a fall in the number of overnight trips made by people from within Northern Ireland of around 3% and a sharp drop in the number of visitors from the Republic of 18%.

Stripping out those numbers, there were more visitors from Great Britain and overseas with 2.01m staying here, an increase of 1%, while expenditure by them jumped 9% to £538m.

Visitors were more likely to come from Great Britain or overseas, half of which were visiting friends or family and because of that factor, the local hotel trade saw only a slight boost.

Hotel room occupancy climbed by 1% while bed and breakfast, guesthouse and guest accommodation fell by 4% on the year.

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