Tourism Ireland has welcomed the inaugural Hainan Airlines flight from Shenzhen, in south-eastern China, to Dublin.
This is the second service from mainland China to Ireland – with Hainan operating a service from Beijing since last year.
It is hoped the new flight will help to significantly boost tourism from China to the island of Ireland.
The airline will operate two flights per week between Shenzhen and Dublin.
Tourism Ireland will partner with Hainan Airlines this spring, to highlight the island of Ireland and drive demand for the new service.
Activity will include Ireland ads running on popular social platforms, as well as on the Hainan Airlines website, around St Patrick’s Day.
James Kenny, Tourism Ireland manager, China, said: “The new Hainan Airlines service from Shenzhen to Dublin is really good news for Irish tourism in 2019, as we continue the roll-out of our market diversification strategy.
“As an island destination, we know the importance of direct, non-stop flights cannot be overstated; there’s a proven correlation between access and growth in visitor numbers, so this new flight will be an important factor in growing visitor numbers from China.
“We look forward to working closely with Hainan Airlines, Dublin Airport Authority and other tourism interests, to maximise the promotion of this new service to Dublin.”
He added: “China is an important emerging travel market and one that Tourism Ireland is committed to growing over the coming years.
“A key message for Tourism Ireland in China is the British-Irish Visa Scheme, which enables Chinese travellers to visit both Ireland and the UK on a single visa of either country.
“In May, Tourism Ireland will undertake our 2019 sales mission to China – when we will meet with top Chinese travel agents and tour operators in the key cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Guangzhou.”