Irish campaign to encourage more chinese tourists

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    Seems like everyone wants a piece of the tourist dollars these days.


    Ireland only needs a small share of the booming Chinese overseas tourist market to make a major impact and a recent trade mission marked a big step forward, said Ireland’s Ambassador to China, Paul Kavanagh.

    China is the world’s largest outbound travel market, with some 120 million people travelling overseas in 2015. Last year, the number of Chinese visitors to Ireland was up 18 per cent to 45,000, and a target of 50,000 in 2017 looks set to be exceeded in 2016.

    “Success in the China market often takes time and patience to build up. But after one passes a certain threshold, the benefits multiply,” said Mr Kavanagh.

    He was speaking to The Irish Times after a delegation of 15 Irish companies led by Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons visited Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, as well as Hong Kong for the first time. Mr Gibbons also visited trade figures in Nanjing.

    “Ireland needs only to win a relatively small – and good quality – portion of this market for it to make a real difference at home in terms of job creation and regional development,” he said.

    Tourism Ireland has stepped up its efforts to woo Chinese tourists, culminating in the appointment of James Kenny as country manager for China. He is a fluent Mandarin speaker, based in Shanghai, who has been involved in bringing Chinese students and tourists to Ireland.

    The Irish Embassy in Beijing as well as Consuls General Therese Healy in Shanghai and Peter Ryan in Hong Kong, were working closely with Tourism Ireland to boost Ireland’s interests, Mr Kavanagh said. The Embassy in Beijing is in the process of appointing a press and public diplomacy attaché.

    An open question remains securing direct flight into Ireland. Currently travellers to Ireland have to stop over in the Emirates or in Europe.

    Any body here visited Ireland? How was your experience? I’m a little concerned because Chinese police have been dispatched to other major European destinations like Paris. If Chinese citizens can’t feel safe in Europe then maybe their money is better spent inside Asia.

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