TNI’s Industry Barometer Survey

Tourism Northern Ireland commissioned a survey in October with Northern Ireland’s tourism industry to monitor 2023 year-to-date (Jan-Sep) business performance, outlook for the remainder of the year and into 2024, as well as causes of concern and reasons to be optimistic.

International Flags outside Ardglass Golf Club

Generally positive year-to-date visitor volumes across closer to home and international markets, although some report below par performance levels

  • Overall, findings suggest the industry had a positive business performance during January-September 2023 with the majority reporting business turnover exceeding or similar to 2022 levels.
  • Room yields have been higher (52%) or similar (30%) to 2022 for the majority of accommodation providers.
  • A significant proportion of businesses report growth across the closer to home markets (NI, ROI & GB), although a minority of around one fifth experienced a decline in visitor volumes from these key markets compared to 2022.
  • Over 8 in 10 businesses have seen international visitor volumes either exceed or match 2022 visitor volumes, with just under one fifth reporting a decline on the previous year.

Business outlook generally favourable

  • Overall, the outlook is generally favourable for the remainder of the year, although around one quarter expect reduced levels of business in the months ahead.
  • Expectations regarding visitor volumes for 2024 are largely positive, with the majority of businesses anticipating similar or higher visitor volumes than 2023. Just under one fifth expect visitor volumes to be below this year’s performance levels.

Operating environment remains challenging across all key sectors

  • Significant levels of concern prevail regarding the continued impact of reduced consumer disposable income, alongside rising energy costs, which sit alongside other increasing operating costs.
  • In response to rising operating costs and consumer cost of living pressures, just over 4 in 10 businesses indicated that they had or were raising their prices.
  • Other key actions businesses are taking in relation to rising operating costs include reducing energy consumption and searching for better supplier deals. One in 10 businesses indicate that they are operating under reduced opening days/hours, with a similar proportion opting to cut back on some products/services.
  • In response to rising operating costs and consumer cost of living pressures, just over 4 in 10 businesses indicate that they had or were raising their prices.

Staff resourcing issues continue

  • Approximately one-third of businesses employing staff highlight ongoing challenges in relation to staff recruitment and retention, particularly for entry level positions.

Some good reasons to be optimistic

  • Despite the concerns expressed regarding the challenging operating environment, the majority of business remain confident that they will maintain overall business profitability for the months ahead.
  • The continued success of repeat visitors and the return of overseas visitors were most likely to be highlighted as reasons to be positive for the remainder of the year and into 2024.


Previous Tourism Industry Barometer Reports

To view previous Tourism Industry Barometer Reports, please click here.