ENDA KENNY HAS given an audience in China a list of good reasons to visit Ireland, highlighting in particular Ireland’s golf courses, shopping, literature and Riverdance.
The Taoiseach namechecked writers George Bernard Shaw and James Joyce and golfers Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke in a speech today aimed at encouraging Chinese tourists to visit Ireland.
The Taoiseach said that Ireland has been ranked as one of the most friendly places in the world to visit by the Lonely Planet travel guide, saying:
We have the scenery, we have the food, we have the historic buildings and ancient traditions, and we have culture, old and new.
He singled out the “glorious dancing spectacle that is Riverdance” for special praise, noting that Chinese vice president Xi Jinping had attended a performance when he was in Dublin.
You all know that we have world champion golfers in Rory McIlroy and Darren Clarke and you can play where they learned on more than 500, including some of the world’s very best, golf courses.
And when all the activity is done Chinese visitors can enjoy an exclusive shopping experience with high quality design and crafts from Ireland and international designers.
Over 6.5 million overseas visitors came to Ireland in 2011 generating around €3.5 billion for the economy.
Ireland introduced a visa waiver scheme last year making it easier for Chinese tourists to visit Ireland. The Taoiseach announced today that the scheme is to be extended for another four years.
Cooperation on science and innovation
Meanwhile Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton, who is accompanying the Taoiseach on the visit to China, has signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation on science and innovation between Ireland and China.
The agreement is likely to involve exchange of scientists and researchers, study tours, exchange of scientific and technological information and data, bilateral scientific and technical meetings, and joint research on projects of mutual interest.
Here’s what Enda has been up to today: