Ireland coastline cliff

Whether it is the lush rolling hills or the charming cities, something is making tourists gravitate towards Northern Ireland for their holidays. The country is not only great for families, but it’s also the perfect destination for cheap holidays for singles, this is just one of the many reasons Northern Ireland is on track to have a tourism industry worth £1 billion by 2020.

Recent figures, as reported on the BBC, suggest that domestic tourism accounted for 44% of the market, making it the largest segment. Great Britain contributed 28% to tourism, the Republic of Ireland followed with 12% and the rest of the world at 16%.

But what is driving Northern Ireland’s boom in tourism? Tourism NI chief executive John McGrillen tells the BBC: “Closer to home markets in the Republic of Ireland and GB are driving spending growth.” Other factors mentioned include the improved air connectivity, mainly due to air routes added by Ryanair since 2019, and the weakness of sterling since the Brexit vote. Screen tourism was also a suggested key factor, as popular shows such as Game of Thrones, The Fall and Vikings have all filmed in Northern Ireland in recent years.

John McGrillen also mentions that they’ve focused on improving marketing in the Republic to encourage external tourists to spend more during their visit. The figures reveal that there has been an increase in tourist spending in Northern Ireland, with it rising 28% from 2013 to 2018.

The three most popular attractions for tourists in Northern Ireland were revealed, one being The Giant’s Causeway. This geological wonder attracts tourists with its beautiful scenery, and people are fascinated by the myths surrounding the 40,000 or so pillars leading into the Atlantic Ocean.

Titanic Belfast also secured a place in the top three attractions. The centre is the world’s largest Titanic visitor experience, as this is the place where the ship was designed, built and launched in 1912.

Lastly, the Ulster Museum has been a popular attraction for tourists. The museum is home to 20,000 works of art and over a million different specimens, attracting tourists who want to learn more about the history of Ireland and the world.

The tourism in Northern Ireland is only set to grow, after the target of £1bn by 2020 has passed, John McGrillen tells the BBC the new target will be £2bn by 2030. If you want to find out for yourself why people are falling in love with this country, browse our holidays to Belfast & Northern Ireland.