Niagara latest target of global greening


Niagara Falls will turn green for the first time this year to mark St Patrick’s Day, Tourism Ireland has announced.

This will be the third year of the tourism agency’s “greening” initiative which sees famous landmarks turning green in honour of Ireland’s patron saint.

The London Eye; Burj Al Arab in Dubai; Table Mountain in South Africa; the Empire State Building in New York; the Sky Tower in Auckland, and the TV tower in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz are among the attractions which will go green this year.

Tourism Ireland’s chief executive Niall Gibbons said the initiative garnered very valuable publicity for Ireland while costing very little to organise.

“Our aim is to bring a smile to the world and to convey the message that Ireland continues to offer a warm welcome, fun and spontaneity, alongside fantastic scenery and cultural activities,” he said. ”There will be saturation coverage of the island of Ireland across the airwaves, in newspapers and digital media and that’s an invaluable boost for our overall tourism marketing drive.”

The St Patrick’s Day celebrations are traditionally seen as the start of Ireland’s tourism season.

Minister for Tourism Leo Varadkar said St Patrick’s Day provided “a unique shop window for Ireland around the world, for Irish tourism and for trade and investment”.

He also said this year’s event would be used abroad to launch The Gathering 2013. This will be a year-long programme of events, festivals and fun designed to encourage people to reconnect with Ireland. Mr Varadkar has described it as being the biggest tourism initiative ever staged here and said it could bring 325,000 extra visitors.

The Central Statistics Office recorded a 7.8 per cent in visitor numbers here last year. Mr Gibbons said Tourism Ireland would build on this by focusing on the traditional markets of Britain, North America, France and Germany, while developing emerging markets such as India, China, Russia and the Middle East.

“In China, Tourism Ireland will work to maximise the tourism potential of the visit of the Chinese vice president, urging potential holidaymakers there to come and follow in the footsteps of Mr Xi,” he said.