Council area 'exceeds expectations', survey finds

Antrim Castle Gardens and Clothworthy House was the most popular attraction in the borough.
Antrim Castle Gardens and Clothworthy House was the most popular attraction in the borough.

Results from a survey of leisure visitors across Northern Ireland show that 98 percent of respondents believed that Antrim and Newtownabbey Council area 'met or exceeded expectations'.

The most popular attraction in the survey, commissioned by Tourism NI, was Antrim Castle Gardens and Clotworthy House.

The accommodation offering was rated very highly, with the quality of the accommodation and the friendliness and professionalism of the service scoring strongly.

The friendliness of staff and local people was a key finding. Friendliness of staff at visitor attractions scored 8.48 (out of ten), with staff at eating establishments receiving 8.42 and accommodation staff scoring 9.09.

Launching the survey results, Economy Minister Diane Dodds MLA said: “The tourism sector within Northern Ireland is in a strong position, as these survey results demonstrate. Our friendly welcome, along with excellent attractions, food, customer service and accommodation continue to win fans both at home and abroad.

"Statistics continue to show that our increasing numbers of external visitors are spending more and the positive experiences evidenced in the Visitor Attitude Survey play a large part in this success.

"Tourism is a vitally important sector to our economy, helping to drive economic growth and supporting jobs throughout Northern Ireland. As Economy Minister I intend to build on the good work being done by continuing to develop local tourism as an export business, helping to contribute to balanced regional growth and job creation.”