A plane flies past the 'supermoon' in Beijing, China. VCG/Getty Images
Far East

Irish globetrotters will soon have their choice of Chinese cities to fly to

Flights to Hong Kong and Beijing are both starting in June.

FROM THIS SUMMER, Ireland will have two direct flights to China after a second route was announced this week as part of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.

Last year, the first ever direct route was announced when Cathay Pacific confirmed a Dublin-Hong Kong route that will run four times per week.

Now it’s been announced that China’s largest private airline Hainan Airlines is to begin flying a route between Dublin and Beijing. It will be the first ever direct flight from Ireland to mainland China.

The Hong Kong route is due make its debut flight on 2 June with the Beijing flight beginning on 12 June.

Tourism Ireland said that an estimated 70,000 Chinese visited Ireland last year and that the news of these new flights could increase this significantly.

“As an island destination, we know that the importance of direct, non-stop flights cannot be overstated. There’s a proven direct correlation between access and growth in visitor numbers, so this new flight will be a major game-changer in growing visitor numbers from China,” Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland said today.

Speaking this morning on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Foreign Affairs Minister Simon Coveney said the flights are vital both to increase tourism from China and to deepen two-way trade between the two nations.

“We’re going from a position where you couldn’t fly direct to China to now having two flights, both starting in June, both with the capacity to carry about 60,000 people per year. So I think we will see a very significant increase in the number of Chinese tourists coming to Ireland,” Coveney said.

Coveney has also welcomed two new entry visas for Chinese citizens that have been introduced by the Department of Justice as part of efforts for greater integration.

One of the visas is a three-year multi-entry visa for business and tourist applicants and the other is a five-year visa for Chinese citizens who have ongoing business concerns in Ireland.

Read: China clears path for Xi Jinping to rule for life >

Read: China wants US man ‘severely punished’ after thumb stolen from ancient Terracotta Warrior >

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