As season five of Game of Thrones hit TV screens across the world last week, local tourism bosses revealed the big bonus of such mainstream exposure for the local economy.
The new-found status of the Province as the go-to location for top film and television production companies has made the creative industries not the only ones to benefit from our stunning local locations. Screen tourism is just the latest spin-off.
“When Hollywood comes to town, you know you’re doing something right”, said Laura McCorry, Tourism Northern Ireland Director of Product Development. “And Northern Ireland can boast several big projects over the last number of years with more to come.”
The Dark Hedges have an almost daily influx of visitors, after appearing in season two of HBO’s Game of Thrones. The fantasy drama’s success is especially good news for Northern Ireland, as during the filming of seasons 1 – 3 an estimated £65.5m was spent on goods and services here.
And last year, Hollywood rolled into town to film Dracula Untold, with a cast and crew of hundreds and armed with a $100m budget, some of which was spent locally. This film, too, was shot in north Antrim.
Tourism NI has met with a number of local tour operators, who have built experiences around the Game of Thrones locations of Ballintoy, the Dark Hedges and Kinbane, and is also enabling local trade, to develop further initiatives based on screen tourism.