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Burj Khalifa joins Tourism Ireland’s global greening programme. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The UAE was illuminated in green on Sunday as it celebrated St Patrick’s Day, the national day of the Republic of Ireland and the 10th anniversary of Tourism Ireland’s ‘Global Greening’ initiative.

Several iconic UAE buildings, including the Burj Khalifa, were lit up with green lights, signifying the ever-strengthening relationship between the UAE and Ireland.

This year’s ‘Global Greening’ saw new landmarks join the initiative like the Burj Khalifa, Cayan Tower, Nation Towers and Intercontinental Abu Dhabi, alongside existing participants, the Burj Al Arab, Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club, and the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium.

The UAE landmarks joined more than 370 international monuments, stadiums, museums, and towers of note this year — including the Sydney Opera House, the London Eye, and the Empire State Building.

Commenting on the annual initiative and the UAE’s celebrations, CEO of Tourism Ireland, Niall Gibbons, said: “This is the 10th year of Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening initiative and it’s bigger and better than ever this year, with some wonderful new additions. It is an honour to see the incredible support from the UAE, for both the initiative and for Ireland as a whole.

“Ireland’s National Day traditionally marks the real start of the tourism season for us; our aim is to bring a smile to the faces of people around the world and to convey the message that Ireland offers the warmest of welcomes and great fun, as well as wonderful scenery and heritage.”

Aidan Cronin, Ambassador of Ireland to the UAE, said: “While the UAE has traditionally always been a great advocate of Tourism Ireland’s Global Greening efforts, we’re honoured to welcome additional significant landmarks this year — especially the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa, as well as Cayan Tower, and Nation Towers and Intercontinental in Abu Dhabi. We thank all of our partners for their continued support and look forward to even more fruitful partnerships in the future.”

Following the lifting of visa requirements for UAE nationals when visiting the Republic of Ireland, UAE residents are finding themselves drawn to the natural beauty and rich heritage of Ireland. This is made clear through dnata Travel’s 63.5 per cent increase in UAE visitors to Ireland in 2018, as well as Emirates Airlines’ 17 per cent increase on the Dubai route, and Etihad Airways’ 14 per cent increase on the Abu Dhabi route.