The Chinese are coming, and Wicklow has a great opportunity to stand out from the rest of Ireland
Wicklow County Council and Wicklow County Tourism recently traveled to China to promote Wicklow and strengthen the partnership with the Province of Hainan.
In July 2017, Wicklow County Council and the Province of Hainan in China, signed a friendship agreement. Late November, a delegation from Wicklow went to visit Hainan, and attended the 2017 Hainan International Tourism Island Carnival Exhibition.
Wicklow and Hainan are looking at various cooperation opportunities in sectors such as Education, Tourism, Agriculture, Culture & Arts, and Film Production.
Hainan is an island South of China’s mainland, and is fighting very hard to become one of the world’s top holiday destination. Hainan has been called the Hawaii of China, and just hosted the Miss World competition. The nine million Hainan inhabitants welcome some 70 million visitors annually, mostly from mainland China.
Tourism in China is growing at a fast pace, and one in three Chinese took a holiday last year. Tourism Ireland is expecting the launch of two direct flights from China next year. There are also talks about opening direct flights from Hainan’s capital Haikou to London early next year.
“Although there are no direct flights flights with China, Ireland has managed to attract some 70.000 visitors this year” says Fred Verdier from Wicklow Tourism. “New Zealand is roughly as far as Ireland from China, and currently enjoys some 70 direct flights, welcoming 300.000 chinese visitors annually”.
“Wicklow has a tremendous opportunity to figure on the ‘must do’ list for Chinese visitors. Wicklow businesses like Powerscourt Gardens and Avoca are already welcoming growing numbers of visitors from China” adds Pat Mellon, Chairman of Wicklow Tourism. “The Chinese international tourism market is set to grow for the next ten years, and through our friendship agreement with Hainan, we are investing in attracting some of that huge market to the Garden of Ireland”