Tourism Ireland’s 2015 sales mission to China kicks off tomorrow (Monday, 8 June). A delegation of tourism enterprises, including five Northern Ireland businesses, is taking part in the targeted travel trade mission – in a bid to grow our share of this rapidly-growing tourism market.
Over the next five days, the Northern Ireland companies will meet and conclude deals with leading Chinese tour operators and travel agents, in the key cities of Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shanghai and Beijing. The overall objective is to engage with Chinese tour operators and encourage them to extend their Northern Ireland offering, or to include Northern Ireland for the first time, in their 2016 brochures and programmes.
Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell said: “We may be competing on a global scale when it comes to promoting Northern Ireland but we have world-class attractions that international visitors want to tick off their ‘must see’ list, including the Giant’s Causeway and Titanic Belfast, to name but two.
“New visa arrangements mean it is now easier for Chinese visitors to come to Northern Ireland. I know this reduction in bureaucracy will make Northern Ireland an easier ‘sell’ for our tourism industry representatives and I wish them well as they continue to raise our profile as a premier holiday and business tourism destination. We have so much to offer and it is vital that we seize the opportunities that exist.”
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “China is an important emerging travel market and one that Tourism Ireland is committed to growing over the coming years. Our sales mission this week is a key element of our promotional programme in China, to win a greater share of the 3+ million Chinese visitors who travel to Europe each year. It offers our tourism partners a platform to inform and influence the Chinese travel trade on all that Northern Ireland has to offer and, importantly, encourage them to include the destination in their 2016 brochures and programmes. Our aim is to grow the number of Chinese visitors to the island to 50,000 per year, by 2017, and our sales missions play a significant role in helping us achieve this target.''
Tourism Ireland has offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Chengdu. The organisation’s promotional activity includes generating positive publicity for the destination through the media, as well as online marketing. Tourism Ireland also undertakes co-operative promotions with key partners – including airlines and the travel trade. A key message for Tourism Ireland in China this year is the British-Irish Visa Scheme, which was launched last autumn and enables Chinese travellers to visit both Ireland and the UK, including Northern Ireland, on a single visa of either country.
Prior to their departure for China, Minister Jonathan Bell met some of the Northern Ireland tourism enterprises taking part in Tourism Ireland’s 2015 sales mission to China this week. Pictured with Minister Bell (third right) are (l-r) Sara Graham, Visit Belfast; Elaine Moore, Tourism Ireland; Zhenting Fu, Ireland UK Chinese Travel; Gillian Little, National Trust; and Ally Hill, Titanic Belfast.
Notes To Editors
The companies taking part in the Tourism Ireland 2015 China sales mission are:
- Titanic Belfast
- Visit Belfast
- The Fitzwilliam Hotel, Belfast
- Interstate Hotels UK & Ireland (Ramada Portrush)
- National Trust
- Club Travel
- Green Ireland International
- Inhand Guides
- Ireland UK Chinese Travel
- Premier Tax Free
- Shamrock Vacations
- Speciality Ireland Tours Ltd
- Wiiya International Ltd