Kildare Village targets Chinese tourists with airlines tie-up

Kildare Village, the designer outlet near Dublin, has teamed up with two Asian airlines to boost its numbers of Chinese visitors as it moves forward with plans to build a €50m expansion.


Photo: Kildare Village

The shopping destination, owned by Value Retail, has partnered with Chinese airline Hainan and Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific following the launch of direct flights between China and Ireland last month.

Hainan is now operating four flights a week from Dublin to Beijing, while Cathay Pacific offers four weekly non-stop flights between Dublin and Hong Kong, the Irish Times reported.

The number of Chinese tourists visiting Ireland is expected to grow from 70,000 last year to 175,000 by 2025, according to Tourism Ireland.

Chinese visitors are highly valuable at Value Retail’s European villages, where they can purchase discounted luxury goods at significantly smaller prices than in their home country. Last year, visitors from China accounted for approximately 60% of tax-free sales at Kildare Village.

Also in the plan to increase its appeal for Chinese consumers is a €50m expansion of Kildare Village to add 29 new shops and two new restaurants.

“A major issue that is impacting on the ability of Kildare Village to attract more Chinese and overseas visitors is the size of the retailing offer, which directly influences the decision of tourists whether to visit a retail outlet in Ireland or instead, larger alternative outlets in other European countries,” Chris Harris, a director of Value Retail, told the Irish Times.

“Kildare Village must extend to be comparable to other similar European villages to make sure that the visitors choose to shop in Kildare and Ireland rather than somewhere else on the European tour,” he added.

The group will be aiming to replicate the success of Bicester Village near London, one of its most popular destinations. The designer outlet is so popular with Chinese shoppers that it has been claimed only Buckingham Palace receives more visitors from China.

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