Shannon Event Focuses On Chinese Tourists

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Ireland should be targeting affluent Chinese holiday makers, a move which could have significant potential for the tourism industry here.

That’s according to the keynote speaker at a tourism seminar which will be held in Shannon on Tuesday.

Mr Jim Paul, who has responsibility for China in his capacity as Head of Developing Markets for Tourism Ireland, believes: “Shopping, dining and sightseeing are the three most popular activities for affluent Chinese people travelling abroad. Visiting historical places and theme parks are next in line for outbound Chinese tourists.”

Mr Paul will be the main speaker at a Shannon Chamber of Commerce seminar “Chinese Tourism on the Move – Targeting the Affluent Chinese Consumer”.

The event is supported by Shannon Development, Shannon Airport Authority, Tourism Ireland and the Shannon College of Hotel Management where the event will be hosted.

China is the leading single source of tourists worldwide with the number of outbound tourists expected to soar from 70 to 100 million by 2020.

Speaking ahead of the seminar, Mr Paul stressed that China is an increasingly important market, with significant potential in the medium to long-term for Irish tourism interests.

He said: “The granting of Approved Destination Status for Ireland and the UK in recent years, plus the Irish Government’s visa waiver scheme enabling Chinese visitors who hold a valid short-term UK visa to travel freely to Ireland, have made travel to Ireland much simpler and less expensive.”

“In the early years, Tourism Ireland focused on establishing relationships with influential intermediaries such as the travel trade, airlines and media. However, the focus has shifted today to a comprehensive consumer marketing programme, aimed directly at potential visitors,” he said.

In February, Chinese Vice-President Mr Xi Jinping visited Ireland, an event which was broadcast across China and which showcased some of Ireland’s greatest tourist attractions including the Cliffs of Moher in Co Clare.

Just a few weeks earlier, Mr Luo Linquan, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China, visited a number of North Clare locations as part of his first trip to the county.

The Ambassador expressed the belief that Chinese visitors would appreciate the stunning vistas of the Cliffs of Moher and the spectacular landscape of the Burren which he also visited.

A panel of distinguished academics will also speak at the half-day event which will be next Tuesday.

They include Professor Fan Hong, Director of School of Asian Studies, Irish Institute of Chinese Studies and the Confucius Institute at UCC; Dr Lu, School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures, NUI Maynooth; Professor Lin Xu, Visiting Lecturer in the Irish Institute of Chinese Studies.

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