Leading travel writers from China have been visiting Northern Ireland, as guests of Tourism Ireland, Hainan Airlines and Tourism NI. They flew to Dublin on the inaugural Hainan Airlines flight from Beijing – the first ever direct flight from Mainland China to the island of Ireland.
Representing a range of print and online publications, the journalists have a combined audience of around 43 million readers. The aim of their visit is to highlight the new flight and ease of access from China to the island of Ireland to their readers, as well as some of the many things to see and do here on a holiday. Their busy programme included a drive along the Causeway Coastal Route, with stops at The Gobbins, Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and the Giant’s Causeway. They also enjoyed a Belfast Food and Drink Tour, as well as visits to Titanic Belfast and St George’s Market.
James Kenny, Tourism Ireland’s Manager China, said: “China is an important emerging travel market and one that Tourism Ireland is committed to growing over the coming years, so we were delighted to have the opportunity to showcase Northern Ireland to these journalists. Their articles will be read by around 43 million people in China, helping to raise awareness of the many things to see and do on a holiday in Northern Ireland.”
In 2017, we welcomed an estimated 70,000 Chinese visitors to the island of Ireland; Tourism Ireland aims to grow Chinese visitor numbers to 175,000 per year, by 2025 (+150% on 2017).
James Kenny continued: “In 2017, we welcomed an estimated 70,000 Chinese visitors to the island of Ireland; the introduction of the new direct flight from Beijing is a major game-changer and offers a real opportunity for us to build on this number. We look forward to working with Hainan Airlines, to maximise the promotion of, and drive demand for, this new service. We are confident that we are in a strong position to grow this emerging travel market in 2018 and over the coming years.”
Tourism Ireland has a strong network in China, with offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Chengdu.