Niche tourism opportunities

Activities and nature-based tourism

Northern Ireland’s natural beauty and long standing reputation for hospitality provide a perfect backdrop for a growing activities tourism market.

Some examples include:

  • garden and forests
  • cycling and mountain biking
  • walking and hiking
  • fishing
  • canoeing and water sports

Types of activity tourism

Activity tourism generally combines physical activity or adventure, cultural exchange or interaction, and an engagement with nature.

The market is commonly made up of:

  • hard adventure activities such as climbing, trekking and mountain biking
  • soft adventure activities such as walking tours, city bike tours, canoe hire or camping

Soft activities make the majority of the market as they:

  • appeal to a wider range of people
  • require less physical output than hard activities
  • generally have lower perceived or real risks
  • are easily adapted for different visitors, eg families

Many activities, such as walking, hiking and often cycling, are typically free to access and so do not have a value market size in their own right. However, they enhance the visitor experience and can increase opportunities for visitors to spend, eg on food, drink and accommodation.

Tourism opportunities

Golf is currently a 'key draw' activity for Republic of Ireland, Great Britain and overseas visitors to Northern Ireland. See golf tourism

For other business sector insights, browse through Tourism Intelligence Reports.