Over a million people visited the Giant’s Causeway this year, the first time the landmark figure has been passed.
That makes Northern Ireland’s only UNESCO World Heritage site by far the biggest tourist attraction in the country.
The iconic attraction on the Causeway Coast which is owned and cared for by conservation charity the National Trust, has seen its visitor numbers increase by 33% since 2013.
Recently hailed as the Number One Region in the World to Visit in 2018 by Lonely Planet, the world’s leading travel authority, the site was also named the Best UK Heritage Attraction for the third consecutive time at the British Travel Awards earlier this month.
Heather McLachlan, Director of the National Trust Northern Ireland said: “Attracting over one million visitors to the Giant’s Causeway this year is an incredible achievement and I am really proud of the National Trust team on the North Coast who provide a world-class visitor experience.
“At the National Trust we are committed to delivering a responsible and sustainable tourism offering that minimises social, economic and environmental impacts whilst generating greater economic benefits for local people and enhancing the wellbeing of the local community.
“Situated between the famous Walled City of Derry and Titanic Port of Belfast, the Giant’s Causeway offers visitors the opportunity to marvel at this area of outstanding beauty whilst unlocking the stories of the stunning rock formation.
“International guests now represent over 70% of visitors and this growth can be attributed to our close partnership with tourist bodies such as Tourism Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland combined with an excellent visitor experience, which begins at the award-winning Visitor Centre.”
Aubrey Irwin, Tourism Ireland, said: “Congratulations to everyone at the Giant’s Causeway on reaching one million visitors throughout 2017.
“This is a remarkable achievement and testament to the hard work of the National Trust and Giant’s Causeway staff.”
Overseas visitors regularly tell us that their holiday in Northern Ireland has surpassed their expectations and a visit to Giant’s Causeway is certainly a ‘must see’ now on everyone’s itinerary.
“Tourism Ireland showcases Northern Ireland extensively around the world, through our extensive range of promotional programmes; and the Giant’s Causeway undoubtedly gives us significant “stand-out” in the very competitive international marketplace. We look forward to continuing our close co-operation with the Giant’s Causeway, to attract more overseas visitors in 2018 and beyond.”
The National Trust is dedicated to protecting the special places and outside spaces that make the region attractive to visitors, and hope that this milestone further celebrates the outstanding natural beauty of this World Heritage Site and all it has to offer. Visitors to the North Coast can also visit the exhilarating rope bridge at Carrick-a-Rede; the beautiful landscapes and gardens at Downhill Demesne and Hezlett House and the magnificent Portstewart Strand and White Park Bay.