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The Council area earned £27m in 2016 from overnight visitors according  to NISRA, an increase in spend of 8% in 2015, although actual numbers of overnight visitors increased by some 30%. As the Council area earns considerably more from shopping visits and day trips, which are usually not included in tourism data, the total earnings from external and all domestic visitors may reach considerably more than £27m and could be in the region of £200m+ in total.

Lisburn Castlereagh’s recommended target for growth in staying visitor numbers and revenue is 10% per annum.This is in line with Tourism NI’s target of doubling tourism value between 2020 and 2030 identifies growth as a key ambition for every part of NI.

There are a few well-established hotels within the Lisburn Castlereagh Council area which experience high occupancy rates. Despite this high demand, there is limited supply and untapped fulfilment in new conference, meeting and hotel development sites offering significant opportunities for potential investors.

Individual major investments such as that by Historic Royal Palaces in Hillsborough Castle and Gardens will see substantial economic benefit in jobs created directly and indirectly, and through visitor spend spreading through the village and wider area, it’s anticipated that this will bring an additional 200,000 new visitors per annum to the City.

The table below shows that within the UK, only NI recorded any material level of growth in hotel bedroom and bed-space occupancy rates when comparing 2016 to 2015 (Source: The Research Solution). 2018 figures taken from VisitBritain United Kingdom Occupancy Survey (Surviced Accommodation Summary Report June 2018).

Hotel Bedroom Demand Comparison

Hotel Demand National Averages Room OccupancyBedspace OccupancyRoom OccupancyBedspace Occupancy
Northern Ireland73%56%73%55%


The annual Balmoral Show has grown significantly since moving from Belfast to Balmoral Park in Lisburn. It is estimat- ed that the agricultural and farming show attracted around 80,000 event goers in 2016, with visitors numbers from across NI and further afield expected to increase further. The recent addition of the Eikon Exhibition Centre at Balmoral Park, the largest indoor exhibition centre in NI with 10,000 sq. m. of flexible indoor space, ample car parking and 65-acre events park also offers the prospect of generating demand for overnight accommodation from events hosted there.

Eikon, Northern Ireland's largest Exhibition and Conference Centre