The Causeway Coast and Glens destination is celebrating its best ever tourism performance.
According to the latest figures from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) the area recorded over one million overnight trips for the first time generating a £194 million contribution to the local economy.
This represents a 42% increase on the previous year. 21% of all overnight trips were made to the Causeway Coast and Glens, up from 17% in 2016.
Welcoming the performance the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Councillor Brenda Chivers said: “We are incredibly proud to welcome more visitors than ever before who are staying longer and spending more money. Tourism is a vital source of employment for the Causeway Coast and Glens and moving forward we must focus on ensuring that the benefits of this growth are felt across the area and throughout the year.”
“It is clear that our collaborative and strategic marketing with key stakeholders including Tourism Northern Ireland, Tourism Ireland and National Trust is now having a positive effect. The UNESCO World Heritage Site at the Giant’s Causeway is a huge draw, particularly for the overseas market, but credit is also due to the private sector who have identified opportunities to create unique experiences that appeal to visitors. The area’s extensive events programme including the North West 200 and niche events such as the Stendhal Festival also contribute to this overall success.”
Destination Manager Kerrie McGonigle added: “The tourism offer in the Causeway Coast and Glens is very attractive to both the domestic and out of state markets. Our tourism providers have been proactive in developing new products and over recent years we have seen the rise of boutique accommodation coupled with a huge focus on local produce in local restaurants and cafes. The Council’s tourism team has been active in the marketplace promoting the destination to tour operators and consumers and it is pleasing to see that this effort has resulted in such a strong performance.
“Alongside this, The Game of Thrones© effect cannot be underestimated as the world’s biggest TV show has brought new visitors to the region in search of the real Westeros.”
“Further exciting opportunities lie ahead for the Causeway Coast and Glens as the benefits of being named Lonely Planet’s Best Region to Visit in 2018 are yet to be realised and the destination prepares for the return of The 148th Open to Royal Portrush next year and the impact this will have beyond 2019.”
To find out more about the area, including what’s on, where to stay and visitor attractions go to http://www.visitcausewaycoastandglens.com or follow @Visit Causeway on Facebook and Twitter.