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Survey Findings Show NI Exceeds Visitor Expectations

As Northern Ireland prepares to welcome an anticipated 215,000 visitors for The 148th Open at Royal Portrush, the findings of Tourism NI’s Visitor Attitude Survey launched today provide clear insight into what visitors can expect when they arrive.

A friendly welcome, beautiful scenery, quality attractions and a rich historical and cultural offering have helped Northern Ireland meet and exceed the expectations of 97 per cent of visitors. Meanwhile, 95 per cent of those out of state said they would recommend NI to others.

The Visitor Attitude Survey was conducted during June-October 2018. During this period leisure visitors from outside Northern Ireland, as well as Northern Ireland residents on a domestic leisure trip, were approached in key locations and attractions in each of NI’s 11 council areas.

Approximately 500 interviews were conducted with visitors face to face. Meanwhile, the majority of those approached were asked to participate in an on-line survey when their Northern Ireland trip ended. Approximately 2,500 leisure visitors completed the latter, resulting in an overall sample of almost 3,000.

Launching the Survey findings, Aine Kearney, Tourism NI Director of Business Support and Events, said in a statement: “As we prepare to host one of the world’s major sporting events of the year, it is clear that local people and those who work across the tourism and hospitality sector play a major part in the success of Northern Ireland’s tourism offering. This is evidenced by the results of our Visitor Attitude Survey.”

“We want to ensure that those visiting for The Open have the same positive experience. One that will enable them to recommend Northern Ireland as a must-see destination for friends and family. This is so that we see a high level of repeat business in the years ahead.”

“Overall these findings demonstrate that Northern Ireland has a tourism offering to be proud of. One that can attract people from across the world to visit. Once here, it is the welcome they receive and the friendliness, professionalism and experience they have with local people and staff, be it in a hotel, café, bus, taxi or anywhere else that leads them to recommend Northern Ireland.”

Responding visitors all marked Northern Ireland’s friendliness at over eight marks out of ten. These included feeling welcomed on arrival (8.11), as well as experiencing friendly service when eating out (8.54), getting a taxi (8.68) or a bus (8.49). The friendly welcome from staff at their accommodation also scored 8.87 out of ten.

In addition, 94 per cent reported that their accommodation also met or exceeded expectations. Quality, value for money and customer service all scored over eight out of ten.

The most popular reasons for choosing Northern Ireland as a destination were to visit a specific attraction, to see the beautiful scenery and landscapes and to explore the local history and culture.

Local attractions also scored highly, again at more than eight out of ten, with people finding them enjoyable and interesting (8.34). Notably, 87 per cent of leisure visitors travelling with family said that Northern Ireland’s attractions were family friendly for all ages.

The cleanliness of beaches also fared well (8.41). Meanwhile, Northern Ireland’s beautiful scenery and landscapes scored 8.82 out of ten.

For more information about The Open, visit www.tourismni.com. Meanwhile, to read the full survey report, see here.

The 148th Open takes place at Royal Portrush from July 14 – 21.

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