Tourism Ireland’s 2017 sales mission to China kicked off this week. A delegation of tourism enterprises from the island of Ireland, including Titanic Belfast, National Trust – Giant’s Causeway and Stena Line, 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, they will meet and conclude deals with leading Chinese tour operators and travel agents, in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong.
This week’s sales mission has been specially designed to strengthen business links between the tourism enterprises from around the island of Ireland 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 Northern Ireland and island of Ireland have 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 the island of Ireland Ireland and this week’s sales mission will play a significant role in helping us do so.”
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 GB. The Chinese version of Tourism Ireland’s international website is http://www.ireland.com/zh-cn; 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.