Irish businesses on mission to woo Chinese

Tourism Ireland’s 2016 sales mission to China kicked off this week as part of an effort to increase the country’s share of the rapidly-growing tourism market.

The delegation of 15 businesses has been joined by the Dublin Airport Authority, which is looking for opportunities to forge direct air links from China to Ireland.

The UK and Irish visa offices are also present, hoping to highlight the British-Irish Visa Scheme. The programme enables Chinese leisure and business travellers to visit Ireland and the UK on a single visa.

The Irish companies will meet with leading Chinese tour operators and travel agents in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.

For the first time, the sales mission will include Hong Kong and begin to explore the potential of the market there.

In 2015, roughly 45,000 Chinese tourists visited Ireland. Tourism Ireland aims to grow Chinese visitor numbers to 50,000 per year, by 2017.