As Northern Ireland prepares to welcome an anticipated 215,000 visitors during The 148th Open at Royal Portrush, the findings of Tourism NI’s Visitor Attitude Survey, launched today, provide a clear insight into what visitors can expect when they arrive.
A friendly welcome, beautiful scenery and landscapes, quality attractions and a rich historical and cultural offering have helped Northern Ireland meet and exceed the expectations for 97% of leisure visitors, with 95% of out-of-state leisure visitors saying they would recommend Northern Ireland to others. The survey was completed with leisure visitors across Northern Ireland and provides detailed analysis about what they really thought about their time here.
Launching the survey findings, Aine Kearney, Tourism NI Director of Business Support and Events, said: “As we prepare to host one of the world’s major sporting events of the year, and the biggest event ever to be staged here, 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, as evidenced by the results of our Visitor Attitude Survey. We want to ensure that those visiting for The Open have the same positive experience that will enable them to recommend Northern Ireland as a must-see destination for friends and family 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 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.”
The friendliness of local people and staff has helped greatly in ensuring leisure visitors had a very positive experience. Responding visitors all marked Northern Ireland’s friendliness at over eight marks out of 10. These included feeling welcomed on arrival (8.11); experiencing welcoming and friendly staff when eating out (8.54); professional and friendly taxi drivers (8.68) and bus drivers (8.49), with the friendly welcome from staff at their accommodation scoring 8.87 out of 10. In addition, 94% reported that their accommodation also met or exceeded expectations with quality, value for money and customer service all scoring over eight out of 10.
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 10, with people finding attractions enjoyable and interesting (8.34). Notably, 87% of leisure visitors travelling with family said that Northern Ireland’s attractions were family friendly for all ages. The cleanliness of beaches also scored well (8.41) with Northern Ireland’s beautiful scenery/ landscapes scoring 8.82 out of 10.