Landmarks 'greened' for Paddy's Day
Mocked-up shot of the 'Welcome' sign in Las Vegas which will 'go green' for the first time on March 17th. Photograph: Tourism Ireland
The largest global St Patrick’s Day promotional drive in the history of the State was launched to coincide with the Gathering today by Minister for Tourism Leo Varadkar.
Dozens of the world’s major landmarks will turn green this March 17th - including for the first time the Pyramids of Giza, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, the ‘Welcome’ sign in Las Vegas, and the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen.
The ‘Global Greening’ initiative will cost the State approximately €35,000, according to the minister – but yielded a return of €5m last year. Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons said he expected that figure to double this year.
The list of landmarks is also a growing one with negotiations ongoing to add to the number between now and St Patrick’s Day.
“We have a list of monuments that we want and they are a work in progress, but everyone is open to it,” said Mr Gibbons. “Some buildings are commercial and they want large fees but that’s not the space that we’re in.”
Mr Varadkar said it had arisen that “some of the ones we’d really like to get want money”, but the State “just can’t justify spending large amounts” on them.
Mr Gibbons said Buckingham Palace would be “the ultimate” landmark on the list of sites he would like to see go green. “We wrote a couple of months ago but that is a dialogue that is in progress,” he said.
He also said that Tourism Ireland – as part of the genealogy television show ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ – has traced the ancestry of Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton to Ireland.
“We have a report on that, which we will be launching in due course. There is an authenticated connection with all the relevant certificates.”
Minister Varadkar said it was “early days” to judge the success of the Gathering – but that it is on target so far. “The number of people using Dublin Airport was up about 3 per cent in January compared with last year, but it really gets going from March on.
“So far we are where we expected to be, although I wouldn’t like to be claiming it as a success just yet.”
He said the Gathering’s target of an additional 325,000 visitors – which will generate about €170m for the economy – was “realistic rather than modest” because the global economy is “very weak” and economies in our main markets are “particularly weak”.