Tourism Ireland

Northern Ireland Key Travel Statistics from Tourism Ireland SOAR Report, February 2024

For the nine months from April to December, Ireland welcomed almost 5.1 million tourists generating €4.7 billion in revenue for the economy. These overseas tourists stayed almost 42 million nights in Ireland from April to December. 

Airports Forecast for April 2024

Based on OAG filings, scheduled air capacity to the island of Ireland is forecasted to be 104% (2.5m seats) of April 2023 levels with Northern Ireland scheduled at 114% (512,000 seats). Belfast City Airport and Belfast International Airport are filed at 126% and 110% respectively of April 2023 levels. 

AirportsApril 2023 SeatsApril 2024 Seats2024 % share of 2023
Belfast Int330,564364,080110%
Belfast City110,454138,803126%
City of Derry7,8899,576121%
RoI Airports1,956,6672,037,352104%

Ferry Performance January 2024 v January 2023

The latest performance data is for the first month of 2024 and it showed ferry passengers on GB routes to and from the island of Ireland at 90% of January 2023 levels. Northern Ireland passenger traffic was 89%.

Hotel Accommodation

Northern Ireland
  • The average daily rate (ADR) for a room in NI in 2023 was £108, an increase of 8% from 2022.
  • The ADR for a room in Belfast was also £108, an increase of 9%.
  • 2023 hotel occupancy in NI increased by 4% from 2022 to 74%.
  • Occupancy in Belfast increased by 5% to 78%.
Republic of Ireland
  • The average daily rate for a room in Ireland for 2023 was €170, an increase of 7% from 2022.
  • The ADR for a room in Dublin was €180, an increase of 6%.
  • 2023 hotel occupancy in Ireland increased by 7% from 2022 to 78%.
  • Occupancy in Dublin increased by 6% to 82%.

Market Activity Update for NI

Great Britain
  • Ryanair will begin a new service from Birmingham to City of Derry Airport in April. The route has not been served since 2014.
  • Co-operative(co-op) partnerships – campaigns are live in Q1 with British Airways, Ryanair, Loganair, easyJet and Stena Line, promoting ease of access from Great Britain to Northern Ireland. A partnership with Skyscanner is also live, to drive bookings on GB routes to Northern Ireland. 
  • The Northern Ireland ‘Embrace a Giant Spirit’ campaign will run in March on TV, Broadcast Video on Demand, outdoor and in cinemas and will also include a partnership with The Telegraph.
  • Press trip coverage includes Lucy Hunter’s ‘48 Hours in Belfast’ (Bella) and   ‘Belfast Staycation’ (The Sun). 
  • Media visits – upcoming press trips include Fermanagh for Mail on Sunday. 
  • Celtic Connections – a B2B workshop took place in Glasgow in January, connecting 30 island of Ireland industry partners with 25 GB tour operators to drive future business.
  • C&IT Corporate Forum – Tourism Ireland attended this B2B workshop and networking event in London and met with leading GB corporate end-users to promote the island of Ireland as a leading destination for corporate meetings.

North America and Australia
  • US Marketing Plans Launch – Tourism Ireland unveiled its 2024 marketing plans to 140+ key trade stakeholders and top media in New York. The event included a panel discussion which included Janice Gault  from Northern Ireland Hotels Federation.
  • PGA Show Orlando – Tourism Ireland, together with 35 island of Ireland industry partners, attended the PGA Show and  supported a dedicated Ireland Golf Day. 
  • ILTM Cannes – Tourism Ireland unveiled the new luxury travel proposition to travel trade ‘Ireland,where luxury comes naturally’. 26 industries from the island of Ireland met with 1,800 luxury travel buyers and decision-makers (estimated75% were US buyers).
  • Media visits – Travel videographer and award-winning YouTuber Arienne Parzei will arrive in April for a paid campaign focusing on Northern Ireland and Ireland’s Ancient East.
  • National Multicultural Festival – Tourism Ireland will attend the three-day festival in Canberra, in collaboration with the Embassy of Ireland, to highlight Irish culture, traditions and travel to the island of Ireland.

Southern Europe – France, Italy and Spain
  • EasyJet’s Barcelona to Belfast service will recommence in March.
  • Fill your heart with Ireland campaign went live on 1st February around the Six Nations France vs Ireland rugby match. The campaign includes digital outdoor ads in the Paris region and in key French cities with direct flights to the island of Ireland, ads on social,catch-up TV and segmented TV, creating an estimated 57 million opportunities to see.
  • Carrier co-op includes activity with Ryanair to promote direct flights from Paris to Belfast and a Ryanair campaign promoting the Milan to Belfast service to drive Q1 bookings to Northern Ireland. The campaign kicked off at the end of January and will run for two months, with digital display, DEM (dedicated email) and content on Ryanair.it.
  • The Northern Ireland ‘Embrace a Giant Spirit’ launched in the Lombardy region in Italy in mid-February to promote awareness for Northern Ireland via digital, video and digital outdoor ads. The campaign will also be live in Barcelona, with digital outdoor ads and audio highlighting direct access. This will be supported by access and market trade co-operative campaigns.

Central Europe – Germany, Austria and Switzerland
  • Lufthansa will increase frequency on its Frankfurt to Belfast service from March.
  • CMT Stuttgart – trade partners and industry from the island of Ireland attended CMT,  Germany’s largest consumer fair in Stuttgart, over nine days in January. 
  • The Northern Ireland Embrace a Giant Spirit campaign is live in Germany, promoting Northern Ireland and highlighting ease of access on direct Lufthansa flights from Frankfurt to Belfast. A digital co-op campaign with Lufthansa is also live to promote the service.
  • “Best Luxury Newcomer Destination” 2023 Award in Germany – Connoisseur Circle – a leading travel magazine amongst luxury consumers in Central Europe – named the island of Ireland “Best Luxury Newcomer Destination” at its 2023 awards. 

Northern Europe –Netherlands, Belgium and the Nordics

The Northern Ireland ‘Embrace a Giant Spirit’ is live in the Netherlands, highlighting direct flights from Amsterdam to Belfast with KLM and easyJet via advertising on digital channels and on YouTube and paid social (including Instagram), as well as via online advertorials. The campaign will deliver 33.5 million opportunities to see.

For the full Tourism Ireland SOAR (Situation and Outlook Analysis Report) February 2024 report, please click HERE.