This report is prepared under the provisions of the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 . The Act allows an appropriate authority to request an assessment of official statistics against the Code of Practice for Official Statistics in order for them to gain National Statistics status. This report is in response to such a request.

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency (NISRA) present statistics on Northern Ireland tourism across a number of published reports and through access to data.

Tourism in Northern Ireland (NI) is a growth industry which the devolved government sees as important for the local economy. The development of a new tourism strategy, currently ongoing, recognises this and it is clearly important that this is supported by good data on the nature of the industry and how it evolves over time.

NI tourism statistics provide a range of measures of the tourism industry in NI including volume of overnight trips and associated expenditure and visits to visitor attractions. These statistics provide users with information to support planning, marketing and target monitoring related to tourism, at a national and local level. Policy officials within the Department for the Economy (DfE) used these statistics as a means of monitoring progress towards Northern Ireland’s Programme for Government (PfG) targets 2011 to 2015 related to tourism. These targets aimed to increase visitor numbers to 4.4 million and tourist revenue to £800 million by 2015. Tourism Development Officers within local government districts use the statistics to track changes over time and compare visitor numbers across districts.

Letter from Ed Humpherson to Siobhan Carey regarding Statistics on Northern Ireland Tourism