Thank you for your letter of 2 April 2020 regarding Northern Ireland tourism statistics. Given the ongoing data quality issues with the Household Travel Survey (HTS) conducted by the Central Statistics Office in the Republic of Ireland, I support your decision to temporarily suspend the National Statistics publications which rely on the HTS as one of the main data sources. The Office for Statistics Regulation recognises that there is a strong user need for figures on overnight trips to Northern Ireland. Therefore, I am pleased that you will continue to publish your remaining tourism data which is unaffected by this issue as official statistics in order to provide users with as much information as possible.
We will continue to engage with your team, via our Travel, Transport and Tourism domain, regarding the pre-existing data quality issue with the HTS and the longer-term impact of Covid-19 on Northern Ireland tourism statistics.
Director General for Regulation