Tourism Ireland to double marketing investment in China

Body looking to woo more visitors to Ireland after start of direct flights boosts numbers

Tourism Ireland is to double its marketing spend in China from €500,000 to 1 million as it looks to grow visitor numbers to Ireland to 200,000 by 2025.

The tourism body also said it will double its marketing team on the ground to 12 people as it establishes a presence in Hong Kong.

The announcement was made ahead of a sales mission to China and comes on the back of an 11 per cent jump in visitors to Ireland last year.

Tourism Ireland, which is to undertake a second sale mission to the region later this year, said it was increasing its focus on promoting Ireland to Chinese consumers in cities with direct flights to Dublin.


Chief executive Niall Gibbons said the launch of new direct routes to and from China had been a "game-changer" in terms of tourism with 100,000 visitors from China visiting Ireland in 2018. This compares with just 17,000 in 2012.

Hainan Airlines commenced a new, year-round service between Dublin and Shenzhen in February. It also flies between Dublin and Beijing.

Separately, Cathay Pacific flies direct to Hong Kong from Dublin.

Luxury tourists

Many of China’s visitors are categorised as luxury tourists with the potential to spend between 3.5 and 10 times more than the average visitor.

“Over the last number of years Tourism Ireland’s strategy has focused on targeting high-spending markets. The sustained increase in revenue from such markets has played a large part in our success in recent years and there is great potential for China to become another success story,” the Minister for Tourism, Shane Ross has said.

Fáilte Ireland has developed a “China Ready” workshop to help those working in the tourism sector learn about the opportunities available from the market.

Companies availing of the training programme range from hotels and restaurants, to B&Bs, distilleries, museums and camper van companies.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist