Visitor numbers to Derry continue to rise: new figures

Colum Eastwood.
Colum Eastwood.

The number of international visitors coming to Derry continues to rise.

This is the verdict of Visit Derry which believes last year’s City of Culture celebrations have played a big part in maintaining visitor numbers during 2014.

Figures released by Visit Derry indicate a 14% growth in hotel room sales since 2012 - that equates to 7% year-on-year growth.

There has been a rise for the first six months of 2014 from international visitors, particularly mainland Europe (+7%) and North America (+3%).

Visit Derry believes this is partly because of the “strong appeal” of the city’s historic and cultural attractions.

Odhran Dunn, general manager Visit Derry, said 2013 had been an “exceptional” year for the city.

He added: “Whilst this year was always going to be challenging for the tourism industry, there has been a real positive momentum generated by 2013 and there are some fantastic plans for major events upcoming including MTV Crashes, Walled City Tattoo, Culture Tech, International Choral Festival, Halloween.

“The legacy for the tourism industry is that we are motivated by the message that the Walled City is a ‘must–see’ destination for visitors to the island of Ireland.”

This is a view shared by Foyle SDLP MLA Colum Eastwood who believes sustained tourism growth is one of the most important aspects of the legacy of City of Culture 2013.

“Reports of a rise in visitors from the key markets of Europe and North America are very welcome,” he said. “Everyone involved in the promotion of Derry and the provision of hospitality in the city are to be commended for their sterling work in helping sustain the positive momentum generated by the City of Culture experience.

“Derry has been right at the heart of Irish history down through the centuries and it’s only fitting that it’s at the centre of the island’s thriving tourism industry. Derry is a must see destination... We must continue to build on our growing reputation as a great place to visit.”