Tourism figures show spending rise in Causeway and Mourne areas

By Julian O'Neill
BBC News NI Business Correspondent

Image caption,
The Giant's Causeway is Northern Ireland's most popular attraction

New data on Northern Ireland's thriving tourism market shows big jumps in revenues in two council areas outside Belfast.

Spending from overnight trips to Newry, Mourne and Down rose by 47% in 2017 to £90m.

In Causeway, Coast and Glens they increased to £194m - up by 42% on 2016.

Figures for the 11 council districts are compiled annually by the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency.

Belfast continues to dominate.

But its share of all visitor revenue has dipped slightly, reflecting the improving spread of spending beyond the city.

Image caption,
The Mournes are Northern Ireland's highest mountains

In 2016, it had 39% of market revenues. That has fallen to 35% or £328m of Northern Ireland's £926m total.

In Derry and Strabane spend was estimated at £56m, up by £6m on 2016.

Tourism records have been broken in recent years, with a surge in visitor numbers helped by the pound's fall in value after the Brexit vote in June 2016.

The Giant's Causeway is Northern Ireland's most popular attraction with more than one million visitors.

Titanic Belfast is ranked second with 760,000.