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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 August, 2003, 11:42 GMT 12:42 UK
Summer surge in city visitors
Belfast skyline
More tourists visited Belfast this July
More people are visiting Northern Ireland's capital this summer than in previous years, according to a Belfast tourism body.

New figures from the Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau show that more than 34,000 visited the city's welcome centre in July - an increase of 26% compared to 2002.

Other figures show that the number of counter enquiries during the month rose by 19% to 23,172 while total enquiries jumped by 19% to 28,217.

Belfast City Airport figures also show a 10% increase in visitors coming into Belfast over the July holiday period.

Last month, Belfast played host to five association conferences bringing in 1,000 delegates and welcomed four cruise ships bringing a further 4,000 visitors to the city.

BVCB Chief Executive Gerry Lennon said he was delighted with the latest figures.

This year, there certainly seems to have been a very positive atmosphere around the city
Gerry Lennon
BVCB chief executive
"We are delighted to be announcing a significant increase in Welcome Centre visitor numbers in July, a month which too often has seen tourism dip across Northern Ireland," said Mr Lennon.

"This year, there certainly seems to have been a very positive atmosphere around the city," he said.

The new figures follow the recent BVCB's announcement of the figures for last year, when it was revealed that 3,600,000 people travelled to the city in 2002.

He said it looked as if promoting a positive image of Belfast to potential visitors was "starting to reap the benefits of glowing reviews" on popular travel programmes and in the international press.

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