Cobh has become the first destination in Ireland to be formally recognised by China for its tourism welcome.
The Cork Harbour town received a Chinese Tourist Welcome Certification for its tailored welcome for Chinese visitors.
Cobh Tourism recognised the need to create a uniquely tailored and focused tourism proposition for the Chinese visitor.
They undertook bespoke ‘Welcome’ Training Programme with the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI), the world’s leading independent research institute for Chinese outbound tourism, and the Centre for Competitiveness, aimed at attracting and appropriately welcoming Chinese visitors to the town.
The Guest of Honour at the presentation, James Kenny, China Country Manager with Tourism Ireland, said, "The potential of the Chinese outbound travel market is significant, with Chinese travellers expected to take some 200 million trips overseas by 2020. Currently, 4 million Chinese travel to Europe annually and Tourism Ireland is working hard to win a greater share of that business for Ireland. We continue to work closely with the relative agencies and airlines, to secure improved access from China to Ireland. We are also working to boost off-season travel from China to the island of Ireland, so there are considerable opportunities for innovative regions like Cobh.
"Cobh's commitment to expanding its tourism offering for Chinese visitors is commendable and it is now in a prime position to take advantage of this growing tourism market."
Hendrick Verwey, Chairman of Cobh Tourism, said, “We are delighted to be the first in the Republic of Ireland to undertake this training, which is recommended by the European Travel Commission. It has helped to provide Cobh with a solid foundation to position ourselves at the forefront of the biggest global outbound tourism source and it gave insightful market knowledge to help maximise the success of our marketing and sales initiatives. We recognise the Chinese visitor is very different to the recreational holiday maker from Europe or the USA and their reasons for travel is very complex.
"The training has given us insights into what they expect and how to go the extra mile to welcome them and ensure that they have a wonderful time during their visit in Cobh. We now hope that Cobh will develop a reputation as being accessible to the Chinese market, and therefore a must visit destination for Chinese visitors to Ireland and the UK. Cobh Tourism was delighted to receive funding from Cork County Council through the Tourism Development Fund to undertake the training."
Dr Tony Lenehan, Executive Director of the Centre for Competitiveness and COTRI (Ireland), congratulated all the participants who successfully completed the Programme, and in particular for the exceptionally high level of achievement in the written test following the presentations and lectures. “The Training provided a comprehensive introduction to the Chinese market and how to become ‘China ready’ with lots of ideas for turning Cobh’s venues and attractions into products that fit with what the Chinese visitor would like to experience.” He also noted that: “This commitment to ensuring that a special and focused welcome awaits the Chinese Tourist in Cobh is a further example of the professionalism and dedication to excellence which is synonymous with Cobh as a prime tourist destination.”