Plan to bring 50,000 Chinese tourists to Ireland


Tourism Ireland, which has opened an office in Shanghai, said yesterday it intended to bring 50,000 Chinese visitors to Ireland in 2009. An estimated 5,000 arrived in the country from China last year.

Susan Li, the agency's chief representative in China, explained yesterday that the State has been given "approved destination status" by the Chinese Government. This means that groups of tourists can now visit the country.

Ms Li said that the groups are high-spending visitors. "On average each person spends $2,000 (€1,565) in every country they visit," she said.

Various State agencies have opened offices in Shanghai in recent days, including IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland.

Meanwhile Irish-based mobile phone software developer Silicon and Software Systems (S3) is hoping to generate up to €1.5 million in sales over the next 18 months from a venture in China.

The company yesterday completed a distribution agreement in Shanghai with Beijing Microtec Research (BMR) for its software product Embeddedmind.

The company believes that ultimately the market for its products could be far larger than the €1.5 million targeted.

Chief executive John O'Brien said yesterday that the market was of strategic importance.

S3 produces so-called embedded software, which is included in mobile phones and other products to enable them to function and operate with networks.

BMR is one of China's biggest sellers of embedded software and has over 500 customers. "BMR was selected to become part of our reseller network because of their proven technical and commercial expertise," Mr O'Brien explained.

BMR's chief executive, Alan He, said the company looked forward to introducing S3's product to China.

"It offers significant advantages to designers of network equipment," he said.

The deal was announced at the opening of the Shanghai office of Enterprise Ireland, the State agency charged with developing and supporting indigenous business.

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Micheál Martin, who led a three-day trade mission to China that ended yesterday, opened the office and met a number of the companies operating from there.

IDA Ireland China director Gus Jones said the agency intended to match Irish capabilities with the needs of Chinese investors.