Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland tourism: Visitor numbers hit all-time high, figures show

Giant's Causeway Image copyright Martina Gardiner
Image caption The Giant's Causeway remains the most popular visitor attraction

Visitor numbers to Northern Ireland hit an all-time high in 2015, according to new tourism statistics.

External overnight trips went up by 5%, reaching 2.3 million, due to a large influx of British people.

However, tourism numbers from the Republic of Ireland continue on a deep downward spiral.

In 2015 they slumped by 18% on the previous year, with the problem now being looked at by a "recovery task force" at Tourism Northern Ireland.

Image copyright Peter Macdiarmid
Image caption Titanic Belfast is Northern Ireland's second most visited tourist attraction

Overnight trips by visitors from across the border totalled 320,000 in 2015, while in 2012 there were 430,000 overnight trips made.

In 2014 a report for Stormont said an "image problem" may explain the fall, but the weakness of the Euro last year will not have helped.

The Department for the Economy's new statistics show that the Giant's Causeway remains the most popular visitor attraction.

In 2015 it had over 815,000 visitors.