Tourism Minister Arlene Foster joined Tourism Ireland last week at the China International Tourism Mart (CITM) in Shanghai – the largest and most important travel fair in Asia. Two Northern Ireland organisations – Titanic Belfast and Stena Line – were at the promotion and also took part in Tourism Ireland’s trade mission to Beijing and Shanghai, which coincided with CITM.
During her time in China Minister Foster also briefed leading travel trade and airline representatives at an event in Shanghai organised by Tourism Ireland – highlighting Northern Ireland as a world-class holiday and business destination – and undertook a number of broadcast and print media interviews.
With the number of outbound travellers from China set to soar to 100 million by 2010 – making China the leading single source of tourists worldwide – this is an important emerging market for Northern Ireland tourism. Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Tourism Ireland believes that this market has the potential to grow considerably, especially given China’s strong economy and growing population, which includes an estimated 535,000 ‘high net worth’ individuals. With about 2 million Chinese people visiting Europe each year, this is a significant emerging market and an important one for Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland to tap into. Tourism Ireland will continue to work hard to put Northern Ireland on the map in emerging markets like China, which offers exciting possibilities for tourism in the medium to long-term.”
Tourism Ireland has had a busy promotional programme in China throughout 2012, which has included traditional and online marketing to help boost awareness of Northern Ireland as a world-class holiday destination. Activity has included a campaign to mark the 100th anniversary of Titanic’s maiden voyage and the opening of Titanic Belfast in the spring, as well as advertising in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong, in partnership with airlines, travel trade and industry partners.