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Published on : Wednesday, June 10, 2015
Tourism Ireland’s 2015 sales mission to China kicked off from 8 June. A delegation of 14 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 next five days, the Irish companies – including hoteliers, visitor attractions and destination management companies – will meet and conclude deals with leading Chinese tour operators and travel agents, in the key cities of Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shanghai and Beijing. 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 2016 brochures and programmes.
The sales mission comes at a particularly good time, with Ireland very much in the news spotlight in China right now, following the recent visit of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to the West of Ireland. Also, an episode of a popular reality TV show, Exploration of the World, will air this week (on Wednesday, 9 June) to more than 6 million viewers across China. Last month, a 70-strong crew from Jiangsu TV was in Ireland – to film eight Chinese celebrities trying to master hurling, Gaelic football and handball for Exploration of the World. They also took on the challenge of learning Irish dancing and traditional music.
China Central Television (CCTV-4) also visited Ireland recently, to film a documentary called Glamorous Ireland. The resulting one-hour programme – highlighting our beautiful landscape, arts and crafts, as well as Irish society and family life – will be seen by more than 100 million Chinese around the world (CCTV-4 is the only Chinese channel with a global reach). Tourism Ireland works closely with journalists and TV crews, to secure positive publicity and raise awareness of the island of Ireland.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “China is an important emerging travel market and one that Tourism Ireland is committed to growing over the coming years. Our sales mission this week is a key element of our promotional programme in China, to win a greater share of the 3+ million Chinese visitors who travel to Europe each year. It offers 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 Ireland in their 2016 brochures and programmes. Our aim is to grow the number of Chinese visitors to the island of Ireland to 50,000 per year, by 2017, and our sales missions play a significant role in helping us achieve this target.”
Tourism Ireland has offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Chengdu. The organisation’s promotional activity includes generating positive publicity for the island of Ireland through the media, as well as online marketing. Tourism Ireland also undertakes co-operative promotions with key partners – including airlines and the travel trade. A key message for Tourism Ireland in China this year is the British-Irish Visa Scheme, which was launched last autumn and enables Chinese travellers to visit both Ireland and the UK, including Northern Ireland, on a single visa of either country.