Tourism Ireland’s biggest ever sales mission to China is under way this week. A record 26 tourism businesses, as well as five tourism industry leaders, are taking part in the targeted mission to Guangzhou, Chengdu, Shanghai and Beijing.

Earlier this week, Tourism Ireland announced its intention to double its marketing investment in China, to €1 million, and to also double its marketing team to 12, over the coming months – to grow Chinese visitor numbers to 200,000 by 2025.

This week’s sales mission involves meetings with hundreds of leading Chinese travel agents and tour operators, as well as with key airlines and travel journalists.

A key message for Tourism Ireland is ease of access from China to Ireland, with three direct flights to Dublin – from Beijing and Shenzhen with Hainan Airlines and from Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific. The organisation is also highlighting the British-Irish Visa Scheme, which enables Chinese travellers to visit both Ireland and the UK on a single visa of either country.

In 2018, we welcomed an estimated 100,000 Chinese visitors to the island of Ireland, up +11% on 2017.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “China is the largest outbound travel market in the world and one that Tourism Ireland is committed to growing over the coming years. In 2018, we welcomed an estimated 100,000 Chinese visitors to the island of Ireland; the introduction of direct flights to Dublin has been a major game-changer and offers a real opportunity. Our aim is to grow Chinese visitor numbers to 200,000 by 2025 and, in particular, to grow the number of high end individual Chinese travellers to the island of Ireland.”