§ 17. Mr. Simon Coombs
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is his estimate of the increase in tourism and visitor bookings in Northern Ireland since the ceasefire last year.
§ Mr. Ancram
It is estimated that since the ceasefire, visitor bookings have increased by 30 per cent. over the same period in 1993. During the period September to December 1994, hotel room occupancy figures rose by an778W average of 8 percentage points when compared with the same period in 1993. The occupancy figures recorded in October, November and December 1994 were the highest for those months since records began in 1973.
The Northern Ireland tourist board's Dublin office has reported a 155 per cent. increase in bookings since the ceasefire.
Figures for travel to Northern Ireland have also risen since the ceasefire. Sea passenger movements have increased by 6.3 per cent. over the same period in 1993. Belfast international airport and Belfast harbour airport reported inward passenger increases of 3 per cent. and 6 per cent. respectively on the figures for December 1993.