Ireland has been named the ‘best overseas self-drive touring destination’, at an awards ceremony in China. The awards were organised by travel giant Ctrip – the leading online travel agent in China, with more than 250m customers, and the second largest travel agency in the world.
At the ceremony in Shanghai, Ireland was one of four destinations listed in the ‘best overseas self-drive touring’ category – against Australia, Portugal and Guam. Ireland was included for its stunning routes and great driving experiences, including the Wild Atlantic Way and the Causeway Coastal Route.
The Ctrip awards for the various categories are decided upon by votes from over 25 million cTrip users and by a judging panel.
Accepting the award, James Kenny, Tourism Ireland’s Manager China, said: “We are delighted that Ireland has been named a ‘best self-drive destination’ for Chinese travellers. People nowadays have so much choice, which makes it more important than ever that the island of Ireland really stands out from other competitor destinations – so this award is really good news as we roll out our busy promotional drive for 2018 here in China.”
The award is timely, coming just months before direct flights, operated by Cathay Pacific, begin between Dublin and Hong Kong. Tourism Ireland has offices in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Chengdu. The target geographies for it in the country are Shanghai in East China; Beijing and Tianjin in North China; Guangzhou in South China; and Chengdu in West China. The organisation is also now focusing on Hong Kong.
Mr Kenny added: “Tourism Ireland has been working hard to build awareness of the island of Ireland in China. Last year, we estimate that approximately 70,000 Chinese people visited island of Ireland. This accolade from cTrip will help to inspire Chinese holidaymakers to choose the island of Ireland; it also provides Tourism Ireland with another great hook to continue to promote Ireland as a ‘must see’ destination in 2018.”
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