Wexford County Council’s headquarters in Wexford Town was swathed in a red glow on Tuesday last 5th February as the Council joined a list of iconic buildings across Ireland in “lighting up” to celebrate Chinese New Year.
For the third year in a row, some of Ireland’s best-known buildings were illuminated in vivid red colour as Ireland celebrated the Year of the Pig. Among those buildings taking part this year was the National Convention Centre, the Guinness Storehouse and the Mansion House in Dublin while Cork City Hall, City North Hotel in Meath, Kildare Village and Powerscourt Estate also participated.
In recent times Wexford County Council has developed a strong business relationship with China, with a number of business delegations from China visiting County Hall during 2018 to learn about County Wexford and doing business here.
Chinese Ambassador to Ireland, His Excellency Dr. Yue Xiaoyong is no stranger to Wexford having visited here on several occasions in 2018. That relationship led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in April 2018 between Wexford County Council and the Ambassador’s home province of Hubei, People’s Republic of China, committing both regions to work collectively with a view to creating mutual cultural, economic and smart city opportunities.
Chairman of Wexford County Council Councillor Keith Doyle said that China is an important emerging market and one that Wexford County Council is keen to explore in terms of developing technologies, expanding tourism potential and bringing job opportunities to Wexford.
“The Chinese travel market is one of the biggest in the world with almost 70,000 Chinese tourists visiting Ireland in 2018” said Councillor Doyle. “Chinese tourists to Ireland spend approximately €100 million a year, and while their current travel patterns list places such as Giant’s Causeway, the Guinness Storehouse and the Cliffs of Moher as their most-visited landmarks, it is our ambition here at Wexford County Council to add some of Wexford’s best loved visitor experiences to that list in the coming years.
We also see great job opportunities for Wexford in the context of the many Chinese companies seeking a European base for their business operations and we’re keen to further develop our relationship with Chinese business interests so that these opportunities can be explored further” added the Cathaoirleach
In terms of lighting buildings up for Chinese New Year, Wexford County Council Deputy Chief Executive Tony Larkin says that from a marketing perspective, it’s very important.
“Pictures of iconic Irish buildings turned red for their New Year is an important gesture – similar to how buildings around the world turn green for St Patrick’s Day” said Mr. Larkin. “The start of Chinese New Year is like our St Patrick’s Day – it’s great PR to have what is arguably Wexford’s most prominent building – Wexford County Council Headquarters – the seat of local government in Wexford – turn red to celebrate Chinese New Year.
It’s a good PR story for us, and plays really well on social media in China, showing we’re keen to learn and keen to connect while aware and respectful of Chinese tradition and culture” he added.