This year marked the fifth year of Tourism Ireland's Global Greening initiative, which sees iconic buildings and sites around the world "go green" to celebrate St Patrick's Day. The initiative is part of Tourism Ireland's annual St Patrick's promotional programme which spans all of our significant overseas tourism markets. For minimal cost, the measure helps raise Ireland's profile at a time of year when many potential tourists are planning their annual holidays.
More than 120 landmark buildings and iconic sites around the world were part of the initiative in 2014. Amongst the high profile sites which were "greened" again this year were the London Eye, Niagara Falls, the Moulin Rouge, the Leaning Tower of Pisa and the Sydney Opera House. In addition, some new sites were added for the first time in 2014 including the Great Wall of China, the Grand Place in Brussels and City Hall in Savannah. The full list of all sites can be found on Tourism Ireland's website. In 2013, Tourism Ireland estimate the initiative generated publicity worth approximately €10 million in advertising equivalent value. I expect this figure to be matched or exceeded this year.
In 2013, on foot of Deputy O'Donovan's proposal, the initiative was expanded to include a number of buildings in Ireland. This continued in 2014 when a total of 28 buildings under the remit of the OPW took part in the "greening". Many other public bodies also took part as well as local authorities across the country. The St Patrick's Festival Company also engaged with Dublin City Council and others to arrange for the greening of key landmarks around Dublin.
Obviously the initiative can only take place because of the efforts of many. As well as Tourism Ireland, particular credit must go to Ireland's Ambassadors and Embassies overseas, the Office of Public Works, the St. Patrick's Festival Company as well as the public bodies and Local Authorities who support this initiative. Now that it is firmly established, I have no doubt that the "greening" will play a part in raising Ireland's profile as an tourism destination for many more years to come.