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20 Feb 2012

St Patrick’s global celebrations are launch pad for major first half overseas tourism drive (NI version)

The London Eye, Burj Al Arab in Dubai, Table Mountain in South Africa

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 for the first time ever, Niagara Falls and the TV tower in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz – 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 Tourism Ireland’s major first half promotional drive to grow overseas tourism.

Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “Over 70 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 offering to a huge global audience. People across the world instantly identify St Patrick’s Day with the island of Ireland and that heightened profile allows us to put our holiday experience in the spotlight – from London to Sydney and Stockholm to New York.

“Our ‘greening’ initiative takes place again this year, with some famous additions like Niagara Falls in the US and the TV tower in Berlin and there are a few others that we’ll be 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 the island of Ireland continues to offer a warm welcome, fun and spontaneity, alongside fantastic scenery and cultural activities. Our St Patrick’s programme will span Great 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.

“Tourism Ireland firmly believes this will be one of the most exciting years ever for tourism to Northern Ireland. Our extensive promotional activity in our 22 markets around the globe is presenting Northern Ireland in a way that clearly differentiates us from our competitor destinations, that captures the essence of a holiday here and highlights our strengths – iconic experiences, warm, friendly people and value for money,”
continued Niall Gibbons.

In Great Britain, our largest and most important tourism 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. Millions of people in GB and elsewhere around Europe will be tuning in to watch the England v Ireland rugby match at Twickenham in London on 17 March; Tourism Ireland’s highly visible sideline advertising will capitalise on the huge exposure of this high profile game. A major promotional roadshow series involving about 70 Northern Ireland industry partners will take place in GB during March, to create consumer excitement around NI2012. These will target potential holidaymakers in key access gateways using high-footfall locations in London, Glasgow and Manchester.

In North America, Niagara Falls will ‘go green’ on St Patrick’s Day (on both the Canadian and the US sides), as will the Empire State Building in New York, the Chicago and San Antonio Rivers and the famous White House fountains. The island of Ireland will ‘jump into’ Times Square on 17 March, when about 1.5 million New Yorkers will see Tourism Ireland’s new ads on the world-famous FOX screen. Tourism Ireland has a host of consumer and trade promotions taking place around St Patrick’s Day and throughout the spring in the US, including sponsoring live coverage of the New York St Patrick’s Day parade on NBC.

For the first time ever, Tourism Ireland has arranged for the iconic Fernsehturn (television tower) in Berlin and the “Lighthouse” in Düsseldorf to ‘go green’ on St Patrick’s Day, to grab the attention of potential German visitors in both cities. Five skyscrapers – the Hötorgsskraporna buildings – in central Stockholm will also ‘go green’ over three days (15-18 March).

France and Germany are two of Tourism Ireland’s ‘top four’ markets and extensive TV advertising in both countries will reach almost 29 million potential holidaymakers this spring; the campaign in Germany also incorporates a cinema, radio and online advertising drive. Co-operative print advertising is under way around Europe in conjunction with Aer Lingus, targeting 5 million readers in cities with Aer Lingus flights to the island of Ireland.

Over 1 million Europeans will encounter Northern Ireland at top travel fairs this spring, including at ITB in Berlin, the largest travel show in the world which takes place in March, where the Tourism Ireland stand will feature a strong Northern Ireland and Titanic theme. This year’s Tourism Ireland stand at FITUR (Feria Internacional de Turismo – the largest travel show in Spain) also had a special Titanic theme, celebrating the legacy of the iconic ship. Seven Spanish TV crews broadcast from ‘on board’ Titanic at FITUR, including national stations La 1 and Telecinco, as well as Telemadrid, a Madrid TV station. Upcoming Titanic promotions in Mainland Europe will include a Titanic roadshow which will take in seven cities around France, including Paris and Lyon, this spring.

In Dubai, the iconic Burj Al Arab hotel will ‘go green’ on 17 March, as will South Africa’s Table Mountain – a World Heritage Site and one of Cape Town’s most iconic landmarks and visitor attractions. And, once again this year, Auckland’s Sky Tower will ‘go green’ on 17 March.

“Tourism Ireland’s most extensive programme of marketing activity and campaigns ever for Northern Ireland is now under way, to capitalise on NI2012, and to give potential visitors across the world positive and motivating reasons to visit Northern Ireland this year and in the years to come,” said Niall Gibbons.