The London Eye, Table Mountain in South Africa, the Empire State Building in New York, the Sky Tower in Auckland and the Manneken Pis in Brussels are just some of the iconic buildings and attractions around the world which will ‘go green’ this year to mark St Patrick’s Day and to kick off a major €28 million spring promotional drive to restore overseas tourism to growth.
Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said: “Over seventy million people around the world claim links with the island of Ireland and St Patrick’s Day is a truly unique opportunity to reconnect them with their heritage and to showcase our wonderful tourism product to a huge global audience. People across the world instantly identify St Patrick’s Day with Ireland and that heightened profile allows us to put the Ireland holiday experience in the spotlight – from London to Sydney and Stockholm to New York.
“Our ‘greening’ initiative continues this year, with some famous additions like Table Mountain in South Africa and there are many others that we’re keeping up our sleeves until closer to the day. 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. Our St Patrick’s programme will span Britain, Mainland Europe, North America, Australia, as well as developing markets such as China, India and South Africa. 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.
“Our message this year is that there has never been a better time to visit the island of Ireland, with better-than-ever value from industry partners here and great things to do and see,” continued Niall Gibbons.
The Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, Mary Hanafin praised Tourism Ireland's innovative plans for the St Patrick's Day period. "Each year the worldwide St Patrick's Day celebrations provide Ireland with a unique showcase to promote the very best things that Ireland has to offer as a tourist destination. It comes at the perfect time of year as people start to plan their holidays. We need to use every available opportunity to show the world that Ireland is vibrant, welcoming and very much open for business. I am sure that, building on the kind of creativity and energy Tourism Ireland have shown in their St Patrick's programme, we will see a return to growth from all of our major overseas markets this year," the Minister stated.
In Britain, our largest single market, major sites including the London Eye will go green on St Patrick's Day to capture the imagination of potential holidaymakers and focus attention on our intensive spring marketing drive. Tourism Ireland will participate in St Patrick’s promotions in Glasgow, Birmingham, Cardiff and London, capitalising on the opportunity to put the island of Ireland in a positive publicity spotlight. Live broadcasts from the Dublin parade and interviews with Irish celebrities such as Roddy Doyle will be syndicated to national and regional radio and TV channels across GB.
In the important North American market, Tourism Ireland has a host of consumer and trade promotions taking place around St Patrick’s Day and throughout the spring. Tourism Ireland will sponsor live coverage of the New York St Patrick’s Day Parade on NBC, with film clips on Ireland and interviews with tourism industry partners and celebrities. The Empire State Building in New York will go green, as will the Chicago and San Antonio Rivers and the famous White House fountains.
In France, one of Tourism Ireland’s ‘top four’ markets for 2011, a spring TV advertising campaign will commence on 16 March and will reach 14 million potential holidaymakers. The €1.5 million campaign will be supported by online promotions with partners including Aer Lingus, Air France, Irish Ferries, Brittany Ferries, and B&B Ireland for whom France is also an important market.
Irish food will add a flavour of Ireland to St Patrick’s Day promotions in Paris with cooking demonstrations at MAP, one of France’s biggest travel shows; and with liveried ‘demo’ bikes touring La Défense (the major commercial district of Paris) promoting Irish food and holidays and with Irish culinary blogger Donal Skehan on hand performing cookery demos. And, in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain and Italy, Tourism Ireland will join forces with Bord Bia to showcase ‘culinary Ireland’ through a new online game called ‘St Patrick’s Cooking Island’, targeting a younger European audience of up to 70,000 players in France alone.
In Germany, Ireland will be on air on popular radio station HR1, in the run-up to St Patrick’s Day, courtesy of a joint Tourism Ireland-Aer Lingus promotion which will reach about 200,000 listeners each day during the two-week campaign. The promotion will include trailers and reports on Ireland, with a competition offering listeners the chance to experience St Patrick’s Day in Dublin. Tourism Ireland will also join forces with Aer Lingus, Guinness and the German Irish Association Bayern (GIAB) for the St Patrick’s Day parade in Munich, featuring attention-grabbing ‘Flashmob’ promotions.
St Patrick’s promotions form part of Tourism Ireland’s extensive spring promotional drive in Germany, with a €2.5 million TV campaign under way right now, reaching in excess of 25 million potential German holidaymakers. The ads are airing on prime time TV across seven top German stations, including around St Patrick’s Day; the campaign also incorporates a €1 million radio and online advertising drive, which will run until June.
In South Africa, Table Mountain – a World Heritage Site and one of Cape Town’s most iconic landmarks and visitor attractions – will go green on St Patrick’s Day and the Expresso Morning Show on SABC 3 (South African Broadcasting Corporation), which broadcasts from a penthouse studio with panoramic views of Table Mountain and the ocean, will have an Irish theme for the day. In New Zealand, Auckland’s Sky Tower will go green on 17 March. In Australia, Tourism Ireland is working closely with the National Museum of Australia on its ‘Irish in Australia’ exhibition, which opens on St Patrick’s Day and runs through to the end of July, helping to bring the experience of Ireland to life. In addition, an attention-grabbing ‘flashmob’ promotion will bring a flavour of Ireland to Sydney streets for St Patrick’s Day and Tourism Ireland will work with the Riverdance tour to promote holiday visits.
Elsewhere, in Belgium, the famous Manneken Pis statue will don Irish tweed on St Patrick’s Day, with a civic reception hosted by the Mayor of Brussels. In Sweden, ‘flashmobs’ will perform in Stockholm’s busy Central Station, putting Ireland in the spotlight and bringing a smile to the faces of Swedish commuters.
Tourism Ireland will participate in St Patrick’s Parades in cities across the world including Oslo, Tokyo, Beijing – where the Ireland Festival will take place in the Chao Yang district on St Patrick's Day – and Shanghai – where the ‘Le Chéile Irish Festival’ will be held on Nanjing Road, the city’s most famous pedestrian street.
Tourism Ireland’s 2011 overall Spring campaign is the most intensive and targeted ever mounted by the organisation and concentrates on Ireland’s top four source markets which offer the best business prospects this year – Britain, North America, France and Germany. Value for money dominates all advertising, consumer and trade promotional activities in our overseas markets this year. “Tourism Ireland promotions are strategically geared towards people living around US gateway cities and direct access hubs in Britain and Europe to Irish airports. This strategy is also important to ensure we sustain and increase as much direct access to Ireland as possible in 2011. We are pulling out all the stops to bring overseas tourism back on the path to growth this year,” said Niall Gibbons.
Sinéad Grace, Tourism Ireland t: 01 476 3493/ 087 685 9027
Note to Editors:
• Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
• Tourism is the island of Ireland’s largest indigenous industry; responsible for in excess of 4% of GNP in the Republic of Ireland and employing approximately 200,000 people.
• Approximately 6.6 million overseas visitors came to the island of Ireland in 2010, delivering revenue of approximately €3 billion. Overseas tourism business accounts for 59% of all tourism revenue.
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.discoverireland.com; there are 45 different websites, providing information in 19 different languages covering every continent. In 2010 discoverireland.com attracted almost 12 million unique visitors.