Kildare Village looks to woo more Chinese visitors

Shopping mall awaiting outcome of planning appeal for a new €50m expansion

Shoppers at Kildare Village: approximately 60 per cent of tax-free sales at Kildare Village last year were made by visitors from China

Shoppers at Kildare Village: approximately 60 per cent of tax-free sales at Kildare Village last year were made by visitors from China

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Kildare Village, which is still awaiting the outcome of an appeal over its planned €50 million expansion, is looking to woo more Chinese tourists to the designer outlet mall by teaming up with both Hainan and Cathay Pacific to help promote the shopping centre to inbound passengers.

The move comes as the centre looks to take advantage of the introduction of flights between Ireland and China last month.

Hainan recently started operating four flights a week from Dublin to Beijing, with two direct flights and two that stop over at Edinburgh. Cathay Pacific offers four weekly non-stop flights between Dublin and Hong Kong.

Approximately 70,000 Chinese people visited Ireland last year with Tourism Ireland looking to grow this to 175,000 per year by 2025.

Kildare Village’s parent, Value Retail, which owns nine luxury malls in Europe and a further two in China, is seeking to attract more Chinese visitors to its European stores.

Tax-free sales

Approximately 60 per cent of tax-free sales at Kildare Village last year were made by visitors from China. In addition, it is estimated that two-thirds of all Chinese visitors to Britain shop at Bicester Village, near Oxford.

Value Retail was granted permission for a new expansion that would add an additional 29 shops and two restaurants at Kildare Village in January. However, it has since faced a number of appeals, not least from An Taisce, which claimed that allowing the additional outlets would result in an 18 per cent increase in local traffic.

Value Retail said it hoped An Bord Pleanála would give final approval to the expansion shortly.

“A major issue that is impacting on the ability of Kildare Village to attract more Chinese and overseas visitors is the size of the retailing offer, which directly influences the decision of tourists whether to visit a retail outlet in Ireland or instead, larger alternative outlets in other European countries,” said Chris Harris, a director of Value Retail.

“Kildare Village must extend to be comparable to other similar European villages to make sure that the visitors choose to shop in Kildare and Ireland rather than somewhere else on the European tour,” he added.

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