Eleven Chinese tour operators have been visiting Ireland this week. Carefully selected and invited here by Tourism Ireland, in conjunction with Finnair, the group has been experiencing at first-hand some of the many things to see and do in Ireland – in a bid to increase our share of this rapidly-growing tourism market.
Following an itinerary devised by Fáilte Ireland, the group visited Dublin, with stops at Trinity College and the Guinness Storehouse. They enjoyed a spot of retail therapy at Brown Thomas and Kildare Village. They also checked out some of our other visitor attractions like Blarney Castle, Killarney National Park and the Ring of Kerry, the Cliffs of Moher, Bunratty Castle and Folk Park and King John’s Castle in Limerick.
Amanda Burns, Tourism Ireland’s manager Asia, said: “China is an important emerging travel market and one that Tourism Ireland is committed to growing over the coming years. Working with Chinese tour operators and travel agents is an important part of our annual promotional programme. The aim of this week’s fact-finding visit is to increase awareness of Ireland among these influential travel professionals, to help secure a greater share of the 3+ million Chinese visitors who travel to Europe each year. Tourism Ireland aims to grow the number of Chinese visitors to the island of Ireland to 50,000 per year, by 2017.”
Tourism Ireland has offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Chengdu. The organisation’s promotional activity includes working with the Chinese travel trade, online marketing and generating positive publicity for the island of Ireland through the Chinese media. 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 on a single visa of either country. Amanda Burns continued: “The introduction of the British-Irish Visa Scheme is really good news, making it easier than ever before for visitors from China to visit the island of Ireland. Given that visitors from China are travelling a considerable distance, and often want to include more than one destination on their itinerary, it makes sense to make it as easy as possible for them to visit both Ireland and the UK on a single visa. We are working closely with our colleagues in VisitBritain, to leverage the benefits of the new scheme in China.”
Chinese tour operators at King John’s Castle, Limerick.
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 2014, we welcomed an estimated 8.4 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of about €4.1 billion.
- Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.Ireland.com, available in ten different language versions for over 30 individual markets around the world. In 2014, Ireland.com attracted about 14.25 million visitors.