Tourism is bringing in almost £1m a day to the Northern Ireland economy, despite a drop in visitors from Great Britain, figures show.
The statistics released by NI Tourist Board (NITB) and Tourism Ireland reveal that there were 1.8 million visitors last year, bringing £340m into the economy.
Visitors from Europe rose by 28% while those coming from North America to Northern Ireland jumped by 14%. However, there has been a 42,000 drop in tourists from the main British market.
Alan Clarke, chief executive of NITB, said no-one would have thought 12 months ago that Northern Ireland "would be tipped as a must-see destination" by the Lonely Planet tourist guide.
"We must be aware, however, of the considerable potential that still exists closer to home in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland," he said. "The Republic of Ireland, particularly, offers untapped lucrative business for Northern Ireland".
Tourism Ireland's chief executive Paul O'Toole said his group intended to "continue to grow tourism "to the island of Ireland, and within that, Northern Ireland, at a higher rate of growth than international tourism".
By Daniel Thomas
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