The beauty of Killarney is set to reach a staggeringly massive audience in the Far East thanks to a new tourism campaign involving a top Chinese TV star.
Ren Zhong visited the town this past week as part of a new Tourism Ireland campaign in partnership with vivo (one of the biggest mobile phone brands in China) and National Geographic magazine.
Timed to coincide with the launch of a new vivo mobile phone, Ren Zhong and his crew captured footage of Killarney, Kerry and the Wild Atlantic Way – using the new device – to create a video all about Ireland. The resulting film, called ‘Be Wild’, will go live in early November and will reach at least 30 million Chinese people on social media and on one of China’s most influential video platforms, Youku (similar to YouTube).
Mr Zhong’s itinerary included a boat trip to see Fungie, a visit to Murphy’s Ice Cream in Dingle and a stop at the Star Wars filming site on Ceann Sibéal. He then moved on to Killarney where he stayed overnight in the Muckross Park Hotel.
The visit was part of the fifth annual Images in Cities campaign, run by vivo and National Geographic, which involves bringing 16 photographers and videographers to a different destination each year. A separate group of Chinese journalists and National Geographic photographers will be visiting other locations around Ireland, including the Killarney National Park, in the near future.
They will also be using the new vivo phone to capture images and videos here and will share their content with over 800 million followers on social media.
“Last year, we welcomed an estimated 90,000 Chinese visitors to the island of Ireland in 2017,” said James Kenny, Tourism Ireland China. “Tourism Ireland aims to grow Chinese visitor numbers to 175,000 per year by 2025. There are now two direct flights to Dublin – from Beijing with Hainan Airlines and from Hong Kong with Cathay Pacific. Given that there’s a proven direct correlation between access and growth in visitor numbers, we believe these new flights will be a major game-changer in growing visitor numbers from China.”