Northern Ireland’s culture, including its built and cultural heritage, is a key attraction for visitors choosing the region as their holiday destination.
In broad terms, cultural tourism includes:
- built and historical heritage, such as castles and estates
- cultural heritage, eg museums and galleries
- contemporary culture, eg music, film, TV and fashion
Businesses can benefit by simply being in the proximity of a cultural or a heritage location, building or an event. They can also take a more proactive approach and integrate cultural and heritage experiences in their new and existing tourism products.
In its ‘Culture and Creative Vibe’ guidance, Tourism NI identifies the following key areas of cultural offering as top five Northern Ireland strengths that local tourism providers can tap into:
Screen tourism is on the rise. Boosted by the success of HBO’s Game of Thrones, and productions such as Philomena and The Fall, screen tourism is making a lasting impact on the local Northern Ireland economy and presents local businesses with a wealth of new opportunities. To find out more about screen tourism opportunities, see screen tourism.
Northern Ireland has a strong music offering, from traditional music in pubs and festivals, to more contemporary music which has taken centre stage at key events in the Northern Ireland cultural calendar. There is also has a wide range of music venues from small intimate sites, to large facilities which can host major international acts.
A rarity in the UK, the walls present great opportunities for local hospitality businesses and walking tour operators.
Events and festivals
Northern Ireland has an established ability to attract and host world-class international events, and bring with them many international and domestic visitors.
Events tourism opens up opportunities in all sectors of the industry, from event organisation and logistics, to accommodation, hospitality and transport.
With world-renowned authors such as C.S. Lewis, Seamus Heaney, Marie Jones and Brian Friel, Northern Ireland literary scene offers huge tourism opportunities. Walking tours, quirky bookstores, festivals, theatre productions, poetry readings, and many more, all allow visitors to walk in the footsteps of literary giants and explore areas that inspired them.
See a video example of what a literary Belfast experience might look like. Source: Tourism NI