Tourists staying longer in Northern Ireland

One of the bright spots in the comparative figures pulled together by Alan Ruddock in his north south ecnomic analysis for Management Today was the levels of tourism in Northern Ireland. Whilst number of visits last year were down, the people who do come are staying longer.

The Northern Ireland Tourist Board said the overall number of visits last year dropped slightly by 1% from 1.98 million in 2004 to 1.96 million. However, the total number of nights spent by people visiting Northern Ireland rose by 13% from 8.50 million to 9.57 million and they also spent 13% more, with visitor revenue rising to €512m.

  • We’d stay a hellofa lot longer if July through September weren’t as dicy.

    Our September visit was specifically timed to avoid the worst of those colorful local patriotic festivals. Jaysus, did we screw the pooch this time!!!

    My landlady ushered us out the door with the news that the mad bastards were messin’ with “Civil War politics” again and to be careful. It was a quaint beginning.

    The news from the Black North in the republic was such that we didn’t know if we were going to hit roadblocks on our way to the Glens or not. So we planned an alternate spiderweb route that only a crackhead would take.

    Walking around the hills above Cushendall this time was great. It was the last time we saw the Sun before LAX.

  • Oilibhéar Chromaill

    In a related story, as reported exclusively in Lá, the NITB have just put out to consultation a Cultural Tourism Strategy, which is highly controversial as much for the stuff it omits and what it highlights.
    The ommissions: political tourism, murals, historical tours etc, Irish culture in the north of Ireland – Feile an Phobail doesn’t get a mention whereas a cookery festival in Bellisle is. This is not to say that the cookery festival should be excluded – it too has a niche. However to omit the only reason anyone would want to visit Belfast during the month of August is a sad and glaring omission. No mention either of the Irish language, the Culturlann and the fledgling Gaeltacht Quarter in west Belfast.
    2. The highlights of the strategy: the focus on Ulster Scots events, the plan to celebrate the Ulster Plantation (Land Theft) and the contention that Belfast, whose name in Irish means the mouth of the Farset, is ‘a very Scottish city’.
    Maybe the Plantation needs celebrating, maybe there’s a touch of Scotland in Belfast and that Ulster Scots is an attraction to tourists. I have my doubts but what I do know is that to ignore Irish culture and political tourism in a strategy document about how best to promote cultural tourism is a big mistake.
    Perhaps the document is about making those in the DUP and the UUP who think that Irish culture needs a counterbalancing British/Ulster Scots culture feel good about themselves. Perhaps we should expect such futile and pointless (and expensive gestures) in the era of appeasement of unionist paramilitaries with the expenditure of vast sums of money in loyalist areas on the basis of political expediency rather than objective need.
    Who’s going to call the NITB to account?