Niall Gibbons, Tourism Ireland, Martin Murray, Asia Matters, Chinese Ambassador, Dr Yue and Dearbhail McDonald, Group Business Editor, INM

Asia offers great opportunities for Irish exporters, industry and businesses in a changing landscape post Brexit and a new administration in America, a conference in Cork heard today.

The conference, organised by Asia Matters, Ireland’s only Asia Think Tank, heard that last year 20% of new Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into Ireland came from Asia.

Martin Murray, Executive Director, Asia Matters, said that it was important that Ireland diversifies into new global markets. Asia now holds 40% global wealth and 60% of global consumers who require quality products and services. “There are niches in which Ireland can strongly compete,” Mr Murray said,

The Executive Director said: “New figures from Enterprise Ireland show that EI Client Export Performance 2016 in Asia Pacific Markets now stands at €1.82 billion, up 16% on 2015. China has particular partnership opportunities for Ireland. Irish food and drink exports to China have increased six fold in last six years.”

Mr Murray said: “The current Chinese five year plan to 2020 has a target of $750 billion of Chinese outbound FDI. China is the world’s leading outbound tourism market. The number of outbound travellers rose 6% to 135 million in 2016 with Chinese tourism spend up 12% to €240 billion.”

“Ireland’s target of 50,000 + Chinese tourists for 2017 has already been achieved in 2016 with increased focus to deliver a direct flight as transformational. Guinness Storehouse cite a 38% growth in Chinese visitor numbers to 32,000 in 2016 with 9,500 Chinese visitors to Titanic Belfast last year, an increase of 28% whilst Kildare Village are looking at a 100% increase in the number of Chinese visitors in 2017.”

Mr Murray said: “China and Ireland enjoy a unique strategic partnership and the Belt Road Initiative is creating a significant opportunity for international trade cooperation in which Ireland can positively partner.”

The two day conference in Cork, which began today, focuses on Building Win –Win Strategic Partnerships between Asia and Ireland.

Among the guest speakers are H.E. Dr Yue Xiaoyong, Ambassador of China to Ireland, and Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive, Tourism Ireland.

The conference takes place in the River Lee Hotel, Cork, today and concludes tomorrow (Thursday) at Cork Institute of Technology.




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