Once again, Ireland is undertaking substantial marketing efforts to attract Chinese tourists. The latest push is a promotional visit to the country by a delegation that included photographers, journalists, social media influencers and a noted Chinese TV star.
The group of visiting KOLs included photographers for National Geographic who participated in a photo campaign organized by Vivo, a major Chinese smartphone manufacturer. The photographers traveled to iconic Irish sites, like the Causeway Coastal Route and the Dark Hedges, to take photos and videos with Vivo phones.
The Vivo campaign will include a 30-second advertisement on China’s Travel Channel and exhibitions of the photographs in China that are expected to attract 150,000 people.
Tourism Ireland is teaming up with National Geographic and TV star Ren Zhong to promote Ireland in China–it expects the campaign to read 800 million Chinese internet users
Along with the photographers, a second group, led by Chinese TV actor Ren Zhong, will shoot a promotional film, titled Be Wild, using Vivo smartphones. According to Tourism Ireland, the film, which will premier in November on Youku, is expected to reach at least 30 million Chinese internet users via social media, and the campaign as a whole will reach 800 million Chinese internet users via the participants’ social media accounts.
Whether or not the campaign will have the reach Tourism Ireland hopes it will is unclear. However, even reaching a fraction of the expected 800 million may be enough to put Ireland on the map for Chinese tourists looking to experience travel in Europe.
Tourism Ireland, hopes to double the number of Chinese tourists traveling to Ireland by 2025. This seems ambitious, but in fact it’s a relatively conservative goal in the explosive outbound Chinese tourism market. Only 90,000 Chinese tourists traveled to Ireland last year, so reaching the target of 175,000 by 2025 should be attainable. Ireland is further buoyed by its proximity to the U.K., which attracted a record 337,000 Chinese tourists last year. Holders of either an Irish or British visa can enter both countries, which makes adding Ireland onto a tour of the British Isles a relatively easy affair.
Ireland’s relative lack of prominence in the Chinese market is the biggest roadblock to the country’s success in attracting Chinese tourists
Tourism Ireland has recognized that the biggest barrier to achieving success in the Chinese market as a destination is the relative lack of awareness of the country in China. To combat this, the destination marketing organization partnered with Finnair and organized training seminars for Chinese travel agents earlier this year in Xi’an. The goal of the seminars was to both promote Ireland as a destination, but also Finland as a stopover destination for tourists traveling to the rest of Europe via Finnair.