DUBLIN, June 9 (Xinhua) -- Tourism Ireland said that it aims to increase the number of the Chinese visitors to the island of Ireland to 175,000 by the year 2025.
This will represent a 150 percent increase over 2017 in the next eight years, said Tourism Ireland in an email received by Xinhua on Saturday.
Last year, an estimated 70,000 Chinese visitors visited the island of Ireland, which include the Republic of Ireland and Britain's Northern Ireland, according to Tourism Ireland.
"China is the largest outbound travel market in the world and one that Tourism Ireland is committed to growing over the coming years," said James Kenny, Tourism Ireland's Manager China.
"The introduction of the new direct flight from Beijing (to Dublin) next week is a major game-changer and offers a real opportunity for us to build on this number," he said.
China's Hainan Airlines will launch a direct Beijing-Dublin flight service starting on June 12. This is the first direct flight route ever to be launched between the Chinese mainland and Ireland. Earlier this month, a Hong Kong-based airline Cathay Pacific also launched a direct flight service between Hong Kong and Dublin.
With the launch of these two direct flight routes, we are in a strong position to achieve our Chinese market growth target, said Kenny.
Tourism Ireland is a Dublin-registered organization which is responsible for marketing the island of Ireland overseas as a leading tourist destination in the world. Last year an estimated 10.65 million overseas visitors visited the island of Ireland, of which the number of the Chinese visitors only accounted for a meager 0.65 percent.
China is an emerging market for the island of Ireland with a huge potential, said Kenny.
To tap the potential of the Chinese market, Tourism Ireland has set up four offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu in the Chinese mainland apart from one office in Hong Kong. Last month Tourism Ireland sent its biggest ever sales mission to China to build awareness of the island of Ireland in the country.