A screen tourism insight day has heard how the blockbuster TV series Game of Thrones® is continuing to provide Northern Ireland with standout visitor appeal on the global stage.
The ‘Game of Thrones – Get Your Head in the Game’ industry event was held to bring together all those currently involved and interested in leveraging the great opportunity which Game of Thrones® has presented for Northern Ireland as the show’s principal filming location over the last decade.
Held at the Odeon cinema in Belfast’s Victoria Square, the Tourism NI-organised event attracted over 200 local tourism providers and was hosted by award-winning travel journalist, broadcaster and TV presenter Ed Finn.
Tens of thousands of fans are being attracted to Northern Ireland each year because of the epic fantasy series. Tourism NI estimates that in 2016, some 120,000 visitors from outside Northern Ireland were influenced in their decision to travel here by Game of Thrones®. As a result, it is estimated that around £30 million was generated in the local economy.
Commenting on the event Tourism NI’s Director of Product Development Rosemarie McHugh said: “While Northern Ireland has been home to a large number of major international film and television productions, it is Game of Thrones® that has been most transformative for our screen tourism and which is setting us apart in the global tourism market. Although the final season airs in 2019, we are confident that our tourism journey and association with Game of Thrones® will continue far beyond that.
“Our industry has responded to this opportunity with the creation of tours, experiences and events related to the show, but demand is there for more. We look forward to continuing to work with
our industry to develop visitor experiences that equal the power and excitement that HBO has brought to our screens.
International tourism expert Andrew Te Whaiti, who helped develop The Hobbit Movie Set attraction in New Zealand, was one of the keynote speakers.
The event included presentations by Moyra Lock, Head of Marketing with Northern Ireland Screen, and Finnish travel bloggers Tiia Öhman and Satu Walden.