Ireland has received another major boost as The Gathering festival gathers force – this time from China.
A Shanghai newspaper has voted Ireland as the ‘most popular’ destination for 2012 and urged readers to visit in 2013.
The Oriental Morning Post award is voted on by the newspaper’s readers and by travel specialists.
Beijing publication Life Style magazine has also voted Ireland as the ‘most charming destination 2012’ in its latest awards.
The double boost has been welcomed by Tourism Ireland which markets Ireland abroad and has targeted China as a potential growth market.
Chief executive Niall Gibbons told the Irish Times: “I am confident that these awards will enhance the reputation of the island of Ireland and help to attract more Chinese visitors in 2013 and beyond.”
Dublin however has fared badly in a recent survey involving readers and users of the travel website TripAdvisor.
In a survey of 40 key tourist cities in the world, Dublin only finished high in the rankings in terms of friendliest taxi drivers (5th) and best taxi services (4th).
Ireland’s capital was 12th in terms of cleanest streets, 13th for safest city and 15th best for shopping.
And Dublin only ranked 27th for value for money and 29th for being underrated.
The results were based on more than 75,000 responses to a survey sent to those who recently wrote TripAdvisor reviews on the featured cities.
The city did receive a boost from Scotsman writer Martin Hannon who predicted Dublin’s New Year’s Eve festival could be as big as Edinburgh’s Hogmanay.
The report says that Hannon was one of the invited media for the New Year’s Eve festival, now in its second year.
He wrote: “We have a new competitor in our vicinity and Dublin doesn’t do second best to anybody - it is a true European capital, more than twice the size of Edinburgh in terms of population and with a history that dates back even longer than ours.”