Direct flights between Ireland and China are to begin in June.
Tánaiste Simon Coveney who is in Asia for St Patrick's Day festivities is expected to confirm the news later today.
Hainan Airlines will reportedly operate four times a week between Dublin and Bejing - two of these will stop off in Edinburgh en route.
The direct flight time to China is around 11 hours.
Today’s announcement means that, together with the new Cathay Pacific service from Hong Kong (also due to launch in June), for the first time ever there will be eight direct flights per week this summer from China and Hong Kong to Dublin.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Today’s announcement is excellent news for Irish tourism in 2018 and beyond, as we continue the roll-out of our market diversification strategy and seek to implement the findings of our recent Developing Markets review.
“As an island destination, we know the importance of direct, non-stop flights cannot be overstated; there’s a proven direct correlation between access and growth in visitor numbers, so this new flight will be a major game-changer in growing visitor numbers from China.
“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’s will undertake its biggest ever sales mission to China – when we will meet with top Chinese travel agents and tour operators in the key cities of Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong.
“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.”
Tourism Ireland estimates that approximately 70,000 Chinese visited the island of Ireland in 2017.
- Digital desk