How to shop at the barber shop at Belfast airport
Belfast Airport is being flooded with tourists from across Europe, with hundreds of flights taking off on Thursday.
The arrival of more than 100,000 passengers at Belfast International Airport from the United States and Germany has been a major factor in the city’s economic recovery, and the arrival of the holidaymakers has been an even bigger factor.
This is not just a local problem, said Dr Andrew Staunton, the head of the Belfast Airport Authority, but a global issue.
The number of international tourists has risen by about a quarter since last year, he said.
“We are still in a situation where we have about 5,000 international passengers arriving every day, so it is a very busy time of year.”
This week’s arrivals have been made up largely of holidaymakers from the US and Germany, and more than 1,000 Irish arrivals.
This week, the Belfast International airport has become a popular stop for visitors from the West Bank, Syria, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey.
The arrivals are being made up mainly of visitors from Western Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Europe.
Dr Staunons said it was “very hard to say” how many international travellers have landed at Belfast Airport this week, but it was a “good sign” that the number of arrivals had increased.
“It is a sign that we are getting a little bit more international, which we hope will lead to an increase in the number coming to the airport,” he said, adding that he expected the numbers to rise further.
He said the airport was now full of tourists from around the world.
“There are people arriving from Europe, Canada, South America, Africa and the Middle East.
We have got a lot of visitors coming in from these areas,” he added.
The Irish tourist trade was estimated to be worth about £40 million in the last financial year, with tourists arriving from Britain, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, and Canada.
Dr Oisin O’Gorman, chief executive of Belfast Airport, said the tourism industry was the key driver of the economy.
“If we look at the numbers of international visitors coming to Northern Ireland, we are very proud that we have more international visitors arriving to Belfast than anywhere else in Northern Ireland,” he told the Irish Independent.
“This is a fantastic time for the city.
It is an amazing time for Belfast.”
He said there was a need for the business community to support the tourism sector in Belfast.
“The economy is dependent on tourism and if we continue to invest in the tourism market we will benefit our economy as we have done for the last six years.
We are making significant investments in our airport,” Dr O’Glenn said.