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18 Apr 2016

Tourism Ireland leads sales mission to China

Tourism Ireland, together with 14 tourism companies from the island of Ireland, is preparing to blitz four major cities in China next month, as part of its 2016 sales mission to grow tourism from China. The organisation held a briefing today (18 April) in Dublin, for the tourism operators who will participate in the 2016 China sales mission.

The sales mission – which takes place 15-20 May – will target top Chinese travel agents and tour operators in the key cities of Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen. And, for the first time ever, this year’s sales mission will include Hong Kong, to begin exploring the potential of the market there.

The objective is to engage with Chinese travel professionals who are currently selling the island of Ireland, or who have strong potential to sell the destination – and to encourage them to extend their Ireland offering, or to include Ireland for the first time, in their brochures and programmes. Business links between the tourism companies from Ireland and the influential Chinese travel professionals will be strengthened during the sales mission, through a busy programme of workshops, presentations and networking events.

China is an important emerging travel market and one that Tourism Ireland is committed to growing over the coming years. In 2015, we welcomed approximately 45,000 Chinese visitors to Ireland. Tourism Ireland aims to grow Chinese visitor numbers to 50,000 per year, by 2017.

Commenting on the upcoming sales mission, Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Our sales mission is a key element of our promotional programme in China, to win a greater share of the 4 million Chinese visitors who travel to Europe each year. It will give our tourism partners a platform to inform and influence the Chinese travel trade on all that the island of Ireland has to offer and, importantly, encourage them to include the destination in their brochures and programmes. Tourism Ireland is committed to growing Chinese visitor numbers to Ireland to 50,000 per year, by 2017, and our sales missions play a significant role in helping us achieve this target.”

According to the latest data from the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization), China is now the world’s largest outbound travel market – with some 120 million people travelling overseas each year, spending about $165 billion.

Tourism Ireland has offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Chengdu. The organisation’s activity in China involves establishing and building relationships with influential intermediaries, such as the travel trade, airlines and media – highlighting our natural attractions, cities, castles and proximity to Britain. Tourism Ireland also undertakes co-operative promotions with key partners – including airlines and the travel trade. The Chinese version of Tourism Ireland’s international website is http://www.ireland.com/zh-cn; and social media is also increasingly important in helping to raise awareness of Ireland in this mobile-dominant country.

  Walter Pan, Embassy of China in Ireland (left); Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland; and James Kenny, Tourism Ireland’s Manager China (centre), with the tourism companies taking part in Tourism Ireland’s 2016 China sales mission.

Notes To Editors

The companies from the island of Ireland taking part in the Tourism Ireland 2016 China sales mission are:

•    Chinabridge
•    EG Travel
•    Green Ireland International
•    Guinness Storehouse
•    Ireland UK Chinese Travel
•    Kildare Village
•    Limerick Travel
•    Manor House Hotels & Irish Country Hotels
•    National Trust Giant’s Causeway
•    Stena Line
•    Spirit of Ireland Executive Travel
•    The Merrion Hotel
•    Titanic Belfast
•    Wiiya International Ltd