Tuesday 23 December 2014

Leo Varadkar cut down to size by Chinese basketball star

Published 25/04/2014 | 11:41

Leo Varadkar
Leo Varadkar
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar meets with members of the Irish Coast Guard
Ministers Alan Shatter and Leo Varadkar
Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar joins race director Eamonn Coghlan, Olympic boxing silver medalist Kenneth Egan and Lord Mayor of Dublin Oisín Quinn to announce details of this year's St Patrick’s Festival 5k.

Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar was cut down to size during a visit to China this week.

At 6’4”, Deputy Varadkar is used to towering over his diminutive Government colleagues.

But the strapping politico was brought down to earth with a bump after an intriguing encounter with Chinese basketball hero Yao Ming.

The Minister posted the snap to his Twitter page.

At an impressive 7’6”, he was once the tallest active player in the NBA.

And the retired Houston Rocket naturally dwarfed the Minister during their meeting, with Mr Varadkar tweeting: “I used to think I was tall…chatting with former basketball star Yao Ming.”

Minister Varadkar flew over to China earlier this week for meetings aimed at developing new aviations links with Ireland.

The trip, which has been organised on the back of The Gathering, is also designed to crack the lucrative Chinese tourism market.

Mr Varadkar addressed the opening of the Global Summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) in the city of Sanya earlier this week.

The minister highlighted Ireland's special 9pc VAT rate for those involved in the tourism sector, as well as the decision to scrap the air travel tax.

"This invitation to take part in the WTTC this year is a strong recognition of the Irish Government's focus on tourism, and its role in creating jobs and supporting incomes," Mr Varadkar said.

"I'm delighted to be here to talk about our tourism strategy including our efforts to promote new air and sea routes into Ireland."

Mr Varadkar is due to meet members of the Irish diaspora in China, including those associated with the GAA.

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