Friday 17 November 2017

Record numbers jet in for St Patrick's Day as tourism season kicks off

Global Greening

Spectators at the St Patrick's Day parade in Dublin, 2014. File Photo: PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images
Spectators at the St Patrick's Day parade in Dublin, 2014. File Photo: PETER MUHLY/AFP/Getty Images
Dublin Airport's Terminal 2 goes green
St Patrick's Day Parade in Dublin, 2015. Photo: PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

Record numbers of visitors are preparing to jet into Ireland as the world goes green for St. Patrick's Day.

Bookings for Aer Lingus flights from North America are up one third on March 17 compared to the same day last year, according to the airline.

“Celebrating St Patrick’s Day in Ireland, particularly Dublin, is on the bucket list for many people all over the globe," said Declan Kearney, its Director of Communications.

Cities such as Boston and New York are driving the numbers, he added, but there has been a significant increase from others like Orlando and Chicago.

Last year, over 105,000 out-of-state visitors attended the St Patrick's Festival in Dublin, according to research on behalf of Fáilte Ireland.

Dublin Airport itself is set to welcome over 376,000 passengers over the festive period - including English rugby fans for the final clash of the Six Nations.

Ashford Castle goes green for St Patrick's Day
Ashford Castle goes green for St Patrick's Day
Disneyland castle in Shanghai (China) joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative.
The Equator Sign and Line in Uganda joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick. Pic – Will Boase (no repro fee)
Burj al Arab hotel, Dubai, joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick.
The iconic ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas’ sign joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick. Pic – Sam Morris / Las Vegas News Bureau
The Canton Tower in Guangzhou (China) joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick.
The Great Wall of China joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative once again this year, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick.
The Kelpies (horse head sculptures) in Scotland join Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick. Pic – Sandy Young
he Big Banana in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales (Australia), one of Australia’s famous ‘Big Things’, joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick.
A delegation led by Minister Jan O'Sullivan TD, Minister for Education and Skills, at a previous greening of Rio's Christ the Redeemer statue in Brazil. Photo: Twitter/Consulate General of Ireland in Sao Paolo (@IrlSaoPaolo)
Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand – which is synonymous with rugby and the All Blacks and is New Zealand’s largest and most iconic sports stadium – joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick. Pic – Frances Oliver
An Ethiopian Airlines Airbus in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick.
City Hall in San Francisco, illuminated in green as part of Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick.
The National Carillon in Canberra (Australia) joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick.
Gateshead Millennium Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne, joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick. Pic – Scott Heppell/PA Wire
The Sacré-Cœur Basilica in Paris joins the Global Greening.
The Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier in Chicago, illuminated in green as part of Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick.
London – Selfridges in London joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick. Pic: Anthony Upton
City Hall in London joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick. Pic – Geoff Caddick
The Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington, New Zealand, joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick. Pic – Neil Price
City hall in Seoul, South Korea, joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick. Pic – Tom Coyner
The London Eye joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick. Pic – Gretel Ensignia/PA Wire
City Hall in Boston goes green
The Leaning Tower of Pisa joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick.
Selfies for St. Patrick's Day: Rome's Colosseum goes green as part of the Global Greening initiative for St. Patrick's Day.
Puerta de Alcalá in Madrid joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick. Pic – Diego Sinova
National Sanctuary of Cristo Rei (Christ the King statue) in Lisbon, Portugal, joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick.
EL ÁNGEL DE LA INDEPENDENCIA IN MEXICO JOINS TOURISM IRELANDS GLOBAL GREENING
The Prince’s Palace in Monaco joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick. Pic – Frederic Nebinger
Birmingham – Selfridges in Birmingham joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick. Pic – Adam Fradgley/Exposure
The Sky Tower in Auckland, New Zealand, joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick.
Windmill in Weert, the Netherlands, joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick. Pic – Sjoerd van Hoof
The Trafford Centre in Manchester joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick. Pic – Jon Super
The Yas Viceroy hotel on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick.
The Tower of Hércules, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Galicia (Spain), illuminated in green as part of Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick.
The Town Hall in Sydney, Australia, joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick.
The Funkturm Berlin (radio tower) joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick. Pic – Stefan Wieland
Niagara Falls joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick. Pic – Jules Oille
The Prince’s Palace in Monaco joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick. Pic – Frederic Nebinger/Tourism Ireland.
Dallas – Reunion Tower in Dallas, Texas, joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick.
The Vasa Warship in Stockholm, Sweden, joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick.
The skiwelt in Söll (ski resort), in Austria, joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick.
The Trafford Centre in Manchester joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick. Pic – Anthony Devlin
Le Suquet (old town) in Cannes joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick.
Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, London, joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening. Photo: March 15, 2015
The Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick.
The Cibeles Fountain and Palace in Madrid, the ‘spiritual home’ of Real Madrid where fans gather to celebrate their victories, illuminated in green as part of Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening 2014 - it goes green again this year.
The Allianz Arena, home to Bayern Munich, illuminated in green as part of Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening 2014.
The State Library of Victoria in Melbourne (Australia), joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick.
The Olympic Tower in the Olympic Park, Munich, illuminated in green as part of Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening last year.
The Piazza Mercurio in Massa (Italy), joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick. Pic – Matteo Dunchi
Reichsburg Cochem (Cochem Castle), in Germany, illuminated in green as part of Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick. Pic – Kevin Rühle
The Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) in Brisbane (Australia) joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick. Pic – Tourism Ireland
Reunion Tower in Dallas, Texas, joins Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative, to celebrate the island of Ireland and St Patrick. Photo: Reunion Tower Operations Company

15 flights have also been added for the thousands of punters travelling to and from the Cheltenham Festival.

March 17 is traditionally seen as the start of the Irish tourism season, with Tourism Ireland gearing up for its eighth annual 'Global Greening' campaign.

One World Trade Center in New York, City Hall in London and Plaça de Catalunya in Barcelona are among more than 240 global landmarks set to go green this year - in a campaign worth an estimated €10 million to Ireland in publicity terms.

Both Dublin and Cork airports are participating in the global greening, with plans to shine green lights on terminal buildings throughout March 17.

30,000 passengers will pass through Cork between Thursday and Sunday.

"Given St. Patrick's Day is falling on a Friday this year, we are expecting it to be a particularly busy time," said Kevin Cullinane, the airport's Head of Communications. "Visitors from all over the globe will be looking to take part in the festivities and celebrations."

2016 was Ireland's busiest ever year for tourism, with some 10.5 million overseas visitors spending around €5.4 billion on the island.

Numbers are expected to rise modestly this year, though Brexit, Ireland's competitiveness and a shortage of hotel rooms in Dublin pose challenges.

Almost 62pc of holidaymakers say they would strongly recommend an Irish trip, according to Fáilte Ireland's latest visitor attitudes survey, though the number of British finding 'good' or 'very good' value for money has dipped from 67pc to 51pc year on year.

Three out of five visitors would 'definitely' return, according to the research.

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