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Another council set to shine a light on growing tourism links to China

Industry Development, Local Council, China Ready

Posted by Tourism NI

Published March 2, 2018

Mid and East Antrim’s headquarters will turn red this Friday to celebrate this year’s Chinese Lantern Festival and the Borough’s increasingly strong tourism links with China.

The Braid in Ballymena will join with other iconic buildings throughout Europe to build a bridge of light with China, marking 2018 EU-China Tourism Year (ECTY).

Cultural events involving both local and Chinese communities will accompany the illumination of the landmarks in several locations.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor Paul Reid, said: “I am delighted Mid and East Antrim is playing its part in the Chinese Lantern Festival.

“The Lantern Festival can be traced back more than 2,000 years and traditionally marks the end of Chinese New Year Spring Festival. This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate and promote Chinese culture.

“A key priority in Mid and East Antrim is developing our tourism potential and China is vital to that vision.

“According to the latest data from the United Nations World Tourism Organisation, China is now the world’s largest outbound travel market – with more than 127 million people travelling overseas each year, spending over $292 billion.

“By 2020 Chinese travellers are expected to take over 200 million overseas trips. 

“We are committed to promoting culture here and in China and doing all we can to showcase our fantastic tourism offering to the Chinese market and win a greater share of the four million Chinese visitors who travel to Europe each year.”

Tourism staff recently teamed up with local hospitality providers to deliver a new initiative aimed at attracting more Chinese tourists to the area.

The Chinese Tourist Welcome (CTW) Training Programme, facilitated by the Centre for Competitiveness (CforC), involves Mid and East Antrim hoteliers, major attractions and Council’s tourism staff and aims to promote skills, best practice and networking so the industry is best placed to capitalise on Mid and East Antrim’s beautiful scenery, coastline, award-winning parks, exceptional customer service, arts, culture, history and heritage.

Cllr Reid added: “Tourism spend is worth £46.2million annually to the local economy, with almost 4,000 people working in the tourism sector in Mid and East Antrim.

“Council is working to maximise the area’s incredible attractions, including the stunning Causeway Coastal Route and The Gobbins, by partnering hospitality providers to ensure they have all the skills they need to attract visitors from around the globe.

“We aim to provide support through skills training and enhancing local knowledge to ensure our superb hospitality providers have all the tools they need to make Mid and East Antrim a must-visit destination when people are planning their holidays.”

To find out more about tourism in Mid and East Antrim, visit

Posted by Tourism NI

Produced by Tourism NI