Ireland wins best travel destination award in China
Tourism Ireland names new country manager in China to boost presence
Chinese tourists: the country’s outbound tourist numbers are up 20 per cent. Photograph: EPA/WU HONG
China’s Travel & Leisure magazine, a bilingual publication with 550,000 circulation, has named Ireland “best travel destination” in the world at an awards ceremony, beating nine other countries for the top spot.
Last year, more than 45,000 Chinese visitors came to the island of Ireland, and as part of its efforts to boost its presence in this growing market, Tourism Ireland has announced the appointment of James Kenny as country manager for China, based in Shanghai.
Kenny is a fluent Mandarin Chinese speaker who has lived in China for a number of years and has a master’s degree in Chinese Language, Culture and Teaching Chinese. He has most recently been involved in bringing Chinese students and tourists to the island of Ireland.
China’s outbound tourism was the biggest in the world last year despite the slowing economy, with the figures up nearly 20 per cent at 120 million.
A big factor in the expansion was the number of Chinese employers sending staff overseas as part of tour groups.
Last year, Chinese tourists made up 40 per cent of total consumption by foreigners in Japan.
Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said Kenny joined as Tourism Ireland was working to increase awareness of the island of Ireland to help secure a greater share of the four million Chinese visitors to Europe each year. “James brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience and will play a pivotal role in implementing our strategy in the Chinese market,” said Gibbons.