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2005-02-16 Much optimism for this years tourism season

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             Much optimism for this year’s tourism season
             16th February 2005

             NITB‟s latest industry „barometer‟ carried out at the end of 2004 indicates that the year‟s
             strong performance looks set to continue in 2005.

             Alan Clarke, NITB Chief Executive, said: “There is optimism amongst tourism providers for
             the year ahead. Over the past twelve months we have seen the confirmation of much
             improved direct air access from Europe and North America. This year we will welcome visitors
             direct from Paris, Berlin, Rome and New York.

             We will also welcome visitors to major events such as the UEFA under-19s Football Finals in
             July and international conferences, including the Irish Congress of Trade Unions biennial
             conference in July and the World Toilet Summit in September. These conferences alone will
             generate some 6,000 bednights. This activity will certainly help boost tourism‟s contribution to
             the economy during 2005.”

             He continued:“In the final barometer of 2004, the results provide confirmation of the strong
             performance reported during the year. Businesses have cited a number of factors affecting
             performance includingease of access - particularly from Great Britain. Conversely, the weak
             dollar and poor weather have had a less positive impact”.

             Mr Clarke concluded“The majority of hoteliers have reported an increase in bednights,
             profitability and room yield, and in other accommodation sectors business has also shown an
             increase. Demand from Great Britain and overseas destinations as well as from the Republic
             of Ireland and domestic markets have all improved, and we are confident that 2005 will be
             another record year”.

             END

             Editor’s Notes

             The Tourism Barometer is a survey of 422 establishments in Northern Ireland. Carried out by
             Tourism Development International/ Webtourism on behalf of the Northern Ireland Tourist
             Board, it is designed to report on industry performance during the year to date. This is the last
             in a series of three surveys to be conducted in 2004, and is based on industry feedback
             during December.

             Estimates for 2004 suggest that visitor numbers are likely to exceed 2 million for the first time
             ever, with revenue estimated at £312m – up 5% on the previous year, and this year we aim to
             increase revenue by 6%.

             For further information contact Malachy Finnegan or Maureen Campbell, NITB Press Office,
             Tel (028) 9044 1644/1652; email m.finnegan@nitb.com, or m.campbell@nitb.com




NITB, St Anne's Court, 59 North Street, BELFAST, BT1 1NB | Tel +44 (0)28 9023 1221 | Fax +44 (0)28 9024 0960 | Textphone +44 (0)28 9044 1522

				
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