Visit Belfast raises economic forecast for the tourism sector in 2022

The recovery in the tourism sector has prompted Visit Belfast to raise its economic forecast for 2022.

The destination management and marketing body expects tourism to generate £97million for the Belfast city region this year.

The figure is still down 39% from the £135million recorded in 2019.

Visit Belfast launched a three-year tourism recovery plan last year to rebuild the city’s tourism economy with the aim of achieving an economic return of £150million by 2025.

While airlines and tourism operators have forecast a significant recovery in activity this summer, consumer confidence has shown signs of flagging due to the sharp rise in the cost of living.

Visit Belfast chair Kathryn Thomson said the organization remained optimistic about the outlook for the sector this year.

“Despite the current challenges, Visit Belfast remains optimistic that Belfast’s resilient tourism sector will continue to move towards full recovery,” she said.

Belfast’s tourism sector benefited last year from high numbers of British and Irish visitors, but largely missed out on crucial business events and international visits.

Visit Belfast aims to attract 144 cruises this year, which could attract around 345,000 visitors.

The body also hopes the return of major business events will attract around 30,000 delegates and generate £40million.

Visit Belfast’s chief executive, Gerry Lennon, said: “Our industry has a proven track record of resilience and determination to succeed against all odds.

“I am therefore convinced that the outlook for the year ahead is positive and that Visit Belfast will play a key role in ensuring that city tourism returns to the record levels reached in 2019.”