The largest-ever tourism trade mission to China from Ireland took place recently. Eighteen organisations from around the island of Ireland – including hotels, golf operators, visitor attractions and DMCs (destination management companies) – joined Tourism Ireland in Shanghai and Beijing for a series of seminars, B2B workshops, networking events and media interviews in the cities of Beijing and Shanghai. Brown Thomas was also part of the mission, demonstrating the importance of Chinese visitors for our retail sector.
During the three-day mission, face-to-face meetings were conducted with almost 200 Chinese decision-makers – including leading travel agents and tour operators – to encourage them to include the island of Ireland in their 2013 holiday programmes and to recommend it as a destination of choice for their clients. In Shanghai, the partners from Ireland also attended the China International Tourism Mart (CITM) – the largest and most important travel fair in Asia.
Commenting on the longer-term potential of new and developing markets such as China for tourism to the island of Ireland, Susan Li, Tourism Ireland China, said: “The majority of Ireland’s overseas visitors are from the core markets of Great Britain, Mainland Europe and North America, 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. Trade missions such as this provide an invaluable opportunity for our partners from the island of Ireland to develop their business links and enhance their relationships with key decision-makers, helping to grow their tourism business from China.
“Since the visa waiver scheme was introduced by the Irish Government last year, there has been a noted increase in demand among Chinese tour operators for visas for Ireland. A number of tour operators in China also began programming Ireland for the first time in 2012, on the back of the new arrangements. Tourism Ireland will continue to work hard to put the island of Ireland on the map in emerging markets like China, which offers exciting possibilities for tourism in the medium to long-term.”
Pictured at the China International Tourism Mart in Shanghai were (l-r) Brian Murray, Aspects of Ireland; Paul Carty and Fiona Herald, Guinness Storehouse; Gareth Jones, Glasson Country House Hotel; Deirdre O’Brien, Carton House; Ally Hill, Titanic Belfast; Gail Mulcahy, Moloney & Kelly Travel; Éilish Wall, The Ritz-Carlton at Powerscourt; Susan Barrett and Fiona O’Sullivan, both Custom Ireland; Liam Griffin, Griffin Hotel Group; Yvonne Donohue, The Shelbourne Hotel; Graham Howatson, Stena Line; Paula Cogan, River Lee Hotel; Sandra Doran, Tax Free Worldwide; Meijingzi Meng, Club Travel Ltd; and David Mulcahy, Moloney & Kelly Travel.
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, working closely with the ‘Gathering’ project team.