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01 May 2018

Chinese travel agents learn all about the island of Ireland

Some 50 Chinese travel professionals have been learning all about the island of Ireland – at a training seminar in the city of Xi’an in north-west China, organised by Tourism Ireland and Finnair.

The group taking part in the training were travel agents who sell holidays to Ireland, Europe and the US, using Finnair flights. Finnair offers good connections to Ireland – including from Xi’AN (from April to October), Nanjing and Chongqing (year-round).

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 brochures and programmes.

James Kenny, Tourism Ireland’s Manager China, said: “We were delighted to partner with Finnair once again this year, to inform and enthuse key travel agents in the city of Xi’an about the island of Ireland. During the training seminar, they heard all about Dublin and Belfast, the Wild Atlantic Way and the Causeway Coastal Route, as well filming locations used in Game of Thrones and Star Wars.

“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 70,000 Chinese visitors to the island of Ireland.”

Tourism Ireland and Finnair will run a similar training seminar for travel agents in Nanjing later 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.
  Robert Ohrnberg, Finnair (seated, centre); James Kenny, Tourism Ireland (seated, third right); Zhao An (seated, second right) and Zhang Yan (seated, right), both Finnair, with travel agents in Xi’an, at 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, 29 market sites available in 11 language versions around the world, which attracted around 19.3 million visitors in 2017.