Some 40 Chinese travel professionals have been learning all about the island of Ireland – at a training seminar in the city of Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province in east China, organised by Tourism Ireland in conjunction with Finnair.
The group taking part in the training were travel agents who sell holidays to Europe, including Britain and Ireland, using Finnair flights. Finnair offers good connections to Ireland – including a year-round service from Nanjing.
Travel agents continue to play an important role in China, with Chinese travellers preferring to use a travel agent for a number of reasons, including convenience, language barriers, visa preparation and knowledge gaps. The objective of the training seminar was 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 programmes.
As well as highlighting ease of access for Chinese travellers from Nanjing to Ireland, key messages at the seminar included Dublin and Belfast city tours, the Wild Atlantic Way and Causeway Coastal Route, as well as filming locations used in Game of Thrones and Star Wars. Tourism Ireland also highlighted the convenience of the British Irish Visa Scheme, which allows Chinese nationals to visit both Ireland and the UK, including Northern Ireland, using a single visa.
According to Tourism Ireland, we welcomed an estimated 90,000 Chinese visitors to the island of Ireland in 2017; the organisation aims to grow Chinese visitor numbers to 175,000 per year, by 2025.
James Kenny, Tourism Ireland’s Manager China, said: “We were delighted to partner with Finnair once again, to inform and enthuse key travel agents in the city of Nanjing about the island of Ireland. China is the largest outbound travel market in the world and one that Tourism Ireland is committed to growing over the coming years. In 2017, we welcomed an estimated 90,000 Chinese visitors to the island of Ireland.”
Tourism Ireland and Finnair ran a similar training seminar for travel agents in Xi’an, in north-west China, earlier this year.
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.
James Kenny, Tourism Ireland (back, centre); Ms Cai Yi (front, fourth right) and Ms Huang Yi (front centre), both Finnair; with the travel agents in Nanjing who took part in the training seminar on Ireland.
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 281,000 people across the island.
- In 2017, we welcomed approximately 10.65 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of about €5.78 billion.
- Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.ireland.com, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted around 19.3 million visitors in 2017.