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03 Mar 2016

Painting the town green! Ireland float to entice Sydney’s Mardi Gras revellers to ‘follow the rainbow’ to Ireland

There will be a green Ireland float once again this year in the parade of the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras this weekend.

The annual parade, now in its 38th year, takes place on Saturday (5 March) – with some 200,000 spectators expected to line the parade route to see the marchers and floats. It will also be broadcast on Australian TV to more than 425,000 viewers, with thousands more watching online.

The Ireland float – led by our very own Panti Bliss – will be one of the biggest floats in this year’s parade. It will celebrate Ireland and its strong connections to Australia and will be supported by Tourism Ireland and the Irish Consulate in Sydney.

A Tourism Ireland campaign is under way on Facebook – in the run-up to and during the Mardi Gras – which includes a behind-the-scenes film from last year’s parade. The campaign is targeting about 280,000 people in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

Sofia Hansson, Tourism Ireland’s Manager for Australia and New Zealand, said: “Tourism Ireland is delighted to support the Ireland float once again in this year’s Mardi Gras parade. It’s a fun way to get people in Sydney talking about the island of Ireland – and to encourage them to ‘follow the rainbow’ to Ireland this year. Australia and New Zealand are important markets for tourism to the island of Ireland, given that these visitors tend to stay longer than other holidaymakers, typically up to twelve nights, they travel right around the island and many of them come here in the off-season.”

Panti Bliss said: “I'm thrilled to return to Sydney, a city that has been very welcoming of me and my cartoon glamour over the past few years. Working with the team behind the Irish float, it is amazing to experience the passion and commitment that goes in to representing Ireland here in Australia and I'm honoured to be a part of it.”

2015 was another record-breaking year for visitor numbers to Ireland from Australia and New Zealand, with almost 208,000 people visiting. Tourism Ireland is undertaking an extensive programme of promotional activity again this year – to keep the momentum going and continue to grow Australian visitor numbers to the island of Ireland.

Notes 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 220,000 people.
  • In 2015, we welcomed approximately 9.3 million overseas visitors to the island of Ireland, delivering revenue of about €4.7 billion.
  • Tourism Ireland’s international website is www.ireland.com, 29 market sites available in ten language versions around the world, which attracted about 16.5 million visitors in 2015.