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World to turn green for Paddy's Day

Wednesday, February 13 15:42:40

The Pyramids of Giza have become the latest major landmark set to go green on St Patrick's Day 2013, as part of Tourism Ireland's annual 'global greening' initiative.

The ancient wonder of the world site in Egypt joins a host of other iconic sites around the world this year, in a bid to promote the Irish brand abroad.

Other newcomers going green for the first time include the famous 'Welcome' sign in Las Vegas, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, HMS Belfast in London and the Allianz Arena in Munich. The announcement marks the start of Tourism Ireland's major first-half promotional drive to grow overseas tourism in 2013.

The new sites will join some 'old favourites' which have gone green in previous years on 17 March. These include the Sydney Opera House, Niagara Falls, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Empire State Building in New York.

Welcoming the news, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Leo Varadkar said: "This is a major coup for Irish tourism with more major landmarks like the ancient Pyramids of Giza, the revered Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil and the home ground of Bayern Munich turning green for 2013. It's the fourth year of the 'global greening' initiative and Tourism Ireland will now kick off its first major promotional campaign for 2013 in the key markets of Britain, Mainland Europe, North America, Australia and new markets like China, India and South America. We'll be using every opportunity to send out the message that Ireland is the place to visit in 2013, including through the visit of major global media outlets to Dublin on 17 March."

The latest additions show Tourism Ireland's efforts to attract more high-spending visitors from emerging tourism markets. The organisation's chief executive Niall Gibbons said: "We are absolutely delighted that so many well-known sites and attractions are eager to come on board with us and join in our celebrations. The success of our 'global greening' is due in no small part to the great work that has been carried out across the world by Irish people down the generations and, in particular, to the great support we've received from Irish ambassadors and the Diaspora. The eagerness to take part underlines the strength of the deep spiritual connection that people everywhere feel to Ireland - a major boost in this special year of The Gathering Ireland."

Tourism Ireland will also exploit the profile of St Patrick's Day with media worldwide - sending images, video footage and news about Ireland to news desks around the world, as well as to its database of over 22,000 influential travel and lifestyle media contacts.