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Music Tourists Contribute £136m to Northern Ireland Economy

People travelling to attend concerts in Northern Ireland contributed £136m to the local economy last year, a new report suggests.

UK Music figures suggest around 270,000 “music tourists” travelled within or to Northern Ireland for live music.

Music tourism is defined as travelling to another city or town for a performance or festival.

Big names to play in Northern Ireland in 2022 included Billie Eilish and Ed Sheeran.

Iron Maiden, Westlife, Biffy Clyro, Little Mix and Sister Sledge also played in Northern Ireland last year.

According to UK Music’s just-published “Here, There and Everywhere” report, over one million people came to the UK from overseas in 2022 to attend a concert.

Another 13m music tourists travelled within the UK to attend gigs.

But the industry body’s report also includes a breakdown of music tourism in the different regions and nations.

It said that 250,000 people travelled to a different city or town within Northern Ireland to attend a live concert or festival in 2022, while 20,000 travelled to the country for music.

The report estimated that activity contributed £136m to the Northern Ireland economy and sustained around 1,280 jobs.

The UK Music study also highlighted other tourism connected to music including the Belfast Music Walking Tour.

The report also includes details of the methodology used by UK Music for their findings.

A domestic music tourist, for instance, is someone who “has travelled at least three time the average commute” to go to a concert or festival.

In the UK as a whole, that means a music tourist as someone who has travelled around 35 miles to attend a gig.

In Northern Ireland UK Music estimated that – on average at each concert – around two-thirds of attendees had travelled less that 35 miles while around 30% had travelled further than that.

They were then classed as “domestic tourists,” while the remaining 3% of the audience were foreign tourists.

The economic estimates in the UK Music report cover both direct and indirect spend.

“This includes ticket sales, food and beverage sales, merchandise, venue parking, camping fees, accommodation, travel, and additional spending outside of venues while visiting the UK for a live music event,” the report said.

In 2021 Belfast was awarded Unesco City of Music status by the United Nations – only the third city in the UK after Liverpool and Glasgow to receive the recognition.

But UK Music said there were also concerns for the live music industry going forward, with festivals and venues still hit hard by the aftermath of restrictions introduced during the Covid pandemic.

Separately, some bands and performers from the UK have also previously warned that the cost of touring Europe has increased post-Brexit.

Source : BBC