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23 Apr 2017

Tourism Ireland leads sales mission to China

Tourism Ireland’s 2017 sales mission to China kicks off tomorrow (Monday, 24 April). A delegation of 16 tourism enterprises from the island of Ireland is taking part in the targeted travel trade mission – in a bid to increase our share of this rapidly-growing tourism market. 

Over the coming week, the companies from Ireland – including hoteliers, visitor attractions and destination management companies – will meet and conclude deals with leading Chinese tour operators and travel agents, in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong. The delegation is also joined by the CEO of daa, to explore opportunities for direct flights from China to Ireland. 

This week’s sales mission has been specially designed to strengthen business links between the Irish tourism enterprises and the influential Chinese travel professionals, through a busy programme of workshops, presentations and networking events. The overall objective is to engage with Chinese tour operators 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. 

According to the latest data from the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization), China is now the world’s largest outbound travel market – with 135 million people travelling overseas each year, spending about $261 billion. China is an important emerging travel market and one that Tourism Ireland is committed to growing over the coming years. 

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Our sales mission this week is a key element of our promotional programme in China, to win a greater share of the 135 million Chinese people who travel overseas 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 and this week’s sales mission will play a significant role in helping us do so.”
Kevin Toland, CEO of daa, said: “We are delighted to be part of Tourism Ireland’s sales mission to promote Ireland as a business and leisure destination. We have welcomed over 80,000 passengers travelling to and from China through Dublin Airport in 2015; this number grew to over 100,000 last year. We see enormous opportunities and potential from this market and we have been working for some time to secure direct flights between Dublin and China.”   

Tourism Ireland has a strong network in China, with offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Chengdu. The organisation’s activity in China involves establishing and building relationships with influential intermediaries, including the travel trade, airlines and media – highlighting our natural attractions, cities, castles and proximity to Britain. The Chinese version of Tourism Ireland’s international website is; and social media is also increasingly important in helping to raise awareness of Ireland in this mobile-dominant country.

A key message for Tourism Ireland in China is the British-Irish Visa Scheme, which enables Chinese travellers to visit both Ireland and the UK, including Northern Ireland, on a single visa of either country.

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 220,000 people.
  • In 2016, we welcomed approximately 10.5 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of about €5.4 billion.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted 19.37 million visitors in 2016.

Previous Press Release

21 Apr 2017

Promoting Belfast and Northern Ireland in Italy