Kieran McCarthy MLA said: “This news is testament to the vast array of tourist attractions, the amazing scenery and great hospitality Northern Ireland offers.
“It is great to have some really positive news, especially at a time of severe economic difficulty. Those who work in the tourism industry can be very proud of their efforts.
“The current exchange rate has obviously played a role in this increase, but I would hope that those who have come here will visit again, because there is so much to see and do.”
“My own constituency has some breathtaking coastal scenery and has the exciting Exploris centre in Portaferry, Northern Ireland’s only aquarium. It’s vitally important that we maintain attractions like Exploris if our tourism industry is to flourish.”