Forty Chinese travel professionals have been learning all about the island of Ireland at a training seminar in the city of Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province in east China, organised by Tourism Ireland in conjunction with Finnair.
The group taking part in the training were travel agents who sell holidays to Europe, including Britain and Ireland, using Finnair flights. Finnair offers good connections to Ireland, including a year-round service from Nanjing.
Travel agents continue to play an important role in China, with Chinese travellers preferring to use a travel agent for a number of reasons, including convenience, language barriers, visa preparation and knowledge gaps. The objective of the training seminar was to engage with Chinese travel professionals 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 programmes.
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As well as highlighting ease of access for Chinese travellers from Nanjing to Ireland, key messages at the seminar included Dublin and Belfast city tours, the Wild Atlantic Way and Causeway Coastal Route, as well filming locations used in Game of Thrones and Star Wars. Tourism Ireland also highlighted the convenience of the British Irish Visa Scheme, which allows Chinese nationals to visit both Ireland and the UK, including Northern Ireland, using a single visa.
According to Tourism Ireland, Ireland welcomed an estimated 90,000 Chinese visitors to its shores in 2017, and the organisation aims to grow Chinese visitor numbers to 175,000 per year, by 2025.
James Kenny, Tourism Ireland’s Manager China, said, “We were delighted to partner with Finnair once again to inform and enthuse key travel agents in the city of Nanjing about the island of Ireland. China is the largest outbound travel market in the world and one that Tourism Ireland is committed to growing over the coming years. In 2017, we welcomed an estimated 90,000 Chinese visitors to the island of Ireland.”
© 2018 Hospitality Ireland – your source for the latest industry news. Article by Dave Simpson. Click subscribe to sign up for the Hospitality Ireland print edition.