The Burj Al Arab will be 'going green'! The Burj Al Arab will be 'going green'!

The Burj Al Arab will turn green on March 17, as part of Tourism Ireland’s St Patrick’s Day ‘greening’ initiative.

The iconic Dubai hotel is one of 22 landmarks worldwide that will turn green for the day as part of the Irish celebrations.

Other famous sites turning the colour of Ireland include The Sydney Opera House, Nelson Monument in Edinburgh, the Manneken Pis in Brussels, the Puerta de Alcalá in Madrid and the Moulin Rouge in Paris.

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Tourism Minister Leo Varadkar told that St Patrick’s Day provided “a unique shop window for Ireland around the world, for Irish tourism and for trade and investment.

“That’s why we are using St Patrick’s Day to launch The Gathering 2013 in all of our main overseas markets,” he asserted.

“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.”

Niall Gibbons, chief executive of Tourism Ireland, said the aim was to “bring a smile to the world”.

“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,” he said.

“Our message this year is that there has never been a better time to visit the island of Ireland, with better-than-ever value from industry partners here and great things to do and see.”

While the campaign is focused primarily on Ireland’s top four source markets - Great Britain, North America, France and Germany – Gibbons said it was important that Ireland expanded its focus beyond these markets and looked to “the long-term opportunities presented by the emerging tourism markets, like the BRIC countries and the Middle East”.