East Meets West: Chinese Tour Operators Check Out Cork and Kerry

22 Oct 2012

Tourism Ireland and Fáilte Ireland invited eleven leading tour operators from China to visit Ireland last week – to attend a B2B workshop with Irish tourism providers in Limerick and to take part in a fact-finding visit of counties Cork and Kerry, to experience some of the many things to see and do in this part of Ireland for Chinese holidaymakers.

During their time here, the Chinese group visited Blarney Castle and the Jameson Whiskey Experience in Midleton. Their itinerary also included a walking tour of Cork city, taking in St Finbarr’s Cathedral, the Crawford Art Gallery and the English Market. In Killarney, they enjoyed a trip around the lakes by jaunting car and visited Muckross House and Gardens.

Susan Li, Tourism Ireland China, said: “Tourism Ireland is delighted that so many of these influential tour operators took time out from their busy schedules to come and visit the South West and Ireland. The majority of our overseas visitors come from the core markets of Great Britain, North America and Mainland Europe, and while this will continue, it is important that we expand our focus beyond these markets and look to the long-term opportunities presented by emerging tourism markets in Asia like China. With 2 million Chinese people visiting Europe each year, this is a significant emerging tourism market and an important one for the island of Ireland to tap into. Tourism Ireland is very active right now in markets like China, working to raise the profile of the island of Ireland as a premier holiday and business tourism destination and familiarisation visits such as this are an important part of that promotional effort.”

Tourism Ireland’s busy programme of activity to grow tourism from China involves co-operative promotions with airlines and influential tour operators to ensure Ireland features prominently in their itineraries and travel programmes; hosting familiarisation visits for Chinese travel agents and tour operators around the island of Ireland; as well as working closely with travel and lifestyle journalists, to ensure the island of Ireland features extensively in the media in China.

Chinese tour operators at Muckross House and Gardens in Killarney with Jenny Guan, Tourism Ireland (fourth left), and tour guide Min Ling (right).


Further media information:

Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland         
Tel: 087-685 9027

Notes to Editors:
• Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
• Tourism is the island of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry; responsible for in excess of 4% of GNP in the Republic of Ireland and employing approximately 200,000 people.
• In 2011, approximately 7.3 million overseas visitors came to the island of Ireland (+4% on 2010), delivering revenue of approximately €3.4 billion. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% of all tourism revenue.
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.discoverireland.com; there are 42 different websites, providing information in 14 different languages covering every continent. In 2011, discoverireland.com attracted almost 12 million unique visitors.
• ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ will be Ireland’s biggest ever tourism initiative and will consist of a year-long programme of festivals, events and gatherings in every part of the country.
• Tourism Ireland has an extensive programme of promotions under way to highlight ‘The Gathering Ireland 2013’ around the world this autumn, working closely with the ‘Gathering’ project team.


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