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Pictured: Niall Gibbons in front of a green London Eye
Some of the world’s most iconic buildings and attractions will join in the global St Patrick’s Day celebrations once again by turning green for a day.
The London Eye, Burj Al Arab in Dubai, Table Mountain in South Africa, the Empire State Building in New York and the Sky Tower in Auckland will be joined for the first time by Niagara Falls and the TV tower in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz in going green.
Tourism Ireland, the agency behind the initiative, revealed details of this and its plans to launch The Gathering 2013 in its main overseas markets on St Patrick’s Day.
“St Patrick’s Day provides a unique shop window for Ireland around the world, for Irish tourism and for trade and investment,” said Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar.
“That’s why we are using St Patrick’s Day to launch The Gathering 2013 in all of our main overseas markets. The Gathering 2013 will be the most important tourism initiative ever staged in Ireland, as we will be inviting the world to come and visit us. This greening initiative and the other promotions will ensure we build up to 2013 by sustaining growth in overseas tourism in 2012.”
“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,” said Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland.
“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 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.”
In Great Britain, apart from the greening of major sites including the London Eye, Tourism Ireland will run highly visible sideline advertising at the England v Ireland rugby match at Twickenham in London on 17 March.
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 White House fountains. In Times Square on 17 March around 1.5 million New Yorkers will see Tourism Ireland’s new ads on the FOX screen. Tourism Ireland also has a range of consumer and trade promotions taking place throughout the spring in the US, including sponsoring live coverage of the New York St Patrick’s Day parade on NBC, with film clips on Ireland.
For the first time, the Fernsehturn (television tower) in Berlin and the Lighthouse in Düsseldorf will go green on St Patrick’s Day. Five skyscrapers – the Hötorgsskraporna buildings – in central Stockholm will also go green over three days (15-18 March). Key Swedish travel trade and media contacts will be invited to attend a Tourism Ireland event in a venue overlooking the greened Hötorgsskraporna buildings, at which TV chef and culinary blogger Donal Skehan will present a ‘flavour of Ireland’ and the new Aer Lingus flight from Stockholm to Dublin (service begins on 25 March) will be highlighted.
Extensive TV advertising in France and Germany 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.
In Dubai, the Burj Al Arab hotel will go green on 17 March, as will South Africa’s Table Mountain. The spotlight will be on Galway and Ireland when the Volvo Ocean Race arrives in Auckland in New Zealand just in time for St Patrick’s Day. And, once again this year, Auckland’s Sky Tower will go green on 17 March.
“Tourism Ireland’s first half campaign is focused primarily on our top four source markets which offer the best business prospects this year – Great Britain, North America, France and Germany, which together deliver about three-quarters of all our overseas visitors,” said Gibbons.
“However, it is important that we expand our focus beyond these markets and look to the long-term opportunities presented by the emerging tourism markets, like the BRIC countries and the Middle East.
“Tourism Ireland, together with industry partners, has undertaken a number of travel trade missions in recent weeks to new markets including to Russia (Moscow and St Petersburg), the Middle East (Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Kuwait) and India (Mumbai and Delhi), meeting with key tour operators and travel agents, to ensure the island of Ireland fully capitalises on these new tourism markets.
“In China, Tourism Ireland will work to maximise the tourism potential of the recent visit of the Chinese Vice President, urging potential holidaymakers there to come and follow in the footsteps of Mr Xi.”