The Deputy is right that China is a very important market that deserves considerable attention. I hope he will be satisfied that the tourism agencies are well aware of this and are acting accordingly.
Under the Government's global Ireland strategy, we are committed to developing tourism from new and emerging tourism markets with potential for Ireland. This year, Tourism Ireland has commenced the implementation of a strategy for growth in these markets. In budget 2019, the Government provided almost €4 million in additional funding to Tourism Ireland for this purpose. China, as the largest source of outbound tourism in the world, is one of the main emerging markets we are targeting.
While the resources allocated to any particular market is an operational matter for Tourism Ireland and not for me, I am aware that the additional funding provided has allowed the agency to substantially increase its activity in the Chinese market this year. It has doubled its investment to €1 million and increased its on-the-ground marketing team to 12, including a presence in Hong Kong. It has also increased its publicity, digital and social media activity in the market and continues to interact with the travel trade in the market.
To make the most of the potential from a market such as China it is important that the industry in Ireland is sufficiently prepared to be able to offer visitors a quality experience that meets their requirements. To this end, Fáilte Ireland is working with Irish tourism businesses across the country to help them capitalise on this potential by training them in how to meet the specific needs of the Chinese visitor. Its Get China Ready programme was developed in partnership with Tourism Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland and is jointly delivered with the support of the Centre for Competitiveness, which is the licensed provider of China Outbound Tourism Research Institute programmes in Ireland. With the support of Government, the work being done by the tourism agencies both in China and here in Ireland, together with the industry, leaves us well placed to attract increased tourism from China in the coming years.