Game of Thrones® - The Opportunity
There is an international appetite to visit Game of Thrones® filming locations providing a huge tourism opportunity for Northern Ireland. Many of these locations that are accessible to the public have been the catalyst for the development of new visitor experiences.
HBO recently commissioned a study which revealed that one in four adults choose where to go on their next getaway based on their favourite TV show or movie. With Northern Ireland playing a starring role in HBO’s Game of Thrones®, Tourism NI has welcomed the news that the Causeway Coast and Glens region has been placed 3rd in a list of 30 film & TV destinations adults most want to visit.
The Story So Far
Tour Operator Guidelines
Tourism Northern Ireland’s relationship with HBO is vital to the success of film tourism in Northern Ireland. To enable Tourism NI to promote any Game of Thrones® visitor experiences, tourism providers must operate within guidelines which have been developed and agreed by HBO, Northern Ireland Screen and Tourism Northern Ireland. Please click the icon below to download the Game of Thrones® Tour Operator Guidelines.
Dedicated Game of Thrones® Webpage
A Game of Thrones® webpage has been developed on Discover Northern Ireland www.discovernorthernireland.com/gameofthrones/. This provides information on publically accessible filming locations and the many Game of Thrones® visitor experiences. The web statistics of TNI’s Discover Northern Ireland’s website www.discovernorthernireland.com consistently demonstrate that Game of Thrones® is one of the most searched terms on the site and is therefore prominently featured on our homepage.
In addition, Tourism NI has a dedicated TV and film webpage on Discover Northern Ireland www.discovernorthernireland.com/nifilm. This provides information on key events and festivals, NI screen legends, news and blogs as well as other useful information on TV and film in Northern Ireland for the visitor.
Filming Locations Imagery
TNI has commissioned a range of Game of Thrones® location imagery from seasons 1-5. These stunning images are held in our media library and are fully accessible to all tourism providers. These include Downhill Beach, Ballintoy Harbour, Murlough Bay, Beinevenagh, Pollnagollum Cave, Quintin Bay, Tollymore Forest Park and Castle Ward. To register for the media library click here.
Game of Thrones®: The Exhibition
In 2014 Tourism NI partnered with Northern Ireland Screen and Belfast City Council to host the Game of Thrones®: The Exhibition for a second year. A total of 11,000 tickets were allocated in a 2 hour period.
A red carpet event, attended by cast members and HBO executives, was held to launch the exhibition. This generated international coverage for Northern Ireland. Tourism NI hosted both Republic of Ireland and international media, publications/TV crews in addition to running ‘money can’t buy’ competitions for fans.
The deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: “Films and television programmes have a significant, positive effect directly on the creative industry and also on tourism. Continued investment by major production companies like HBO ensures our creative industries, which have grown substantially around this show’s massive success, will continue to lead the way on the world stage.”
An indication of the value of Game of Thrones® is reflected in the success of the Game of Thrones®: The Exhibition in 2014 which delivered:
- £2.9m weighted PR value
- Attracted visitors from across the world including Australia, USA, Canada, GB, and several European countries (accounting for 24% of visitors)
- Generated an estimated £735K in direct spend
- Attracted new visitors to NI (1 in every 3)
Over the past year Tourism NI has hosted over 70 media trips to Northern Ireland to showcase NI’s screen tourism experience including Game of Thrones® locations. Media participated in interactive visitor experiences including archery and bike riding at Castle Ward as well as guided coach trips stopping at the key filming locations in County Down and along the Causeway Coastal route. As a result widespread on and off-line media coverage has been achieved in markets close to home as well as in Europe, South Africa, Canada, Australia and Asia.
Screen Tourism Insight
Tourism Northern Ireland and Northern Ireland Screen worked in partnership to deliver a successful Screen Tourism Insight event in January 2016 to help the tourism industry learn how they could get involved in this exciting area of tourism. Featuring film tourism consultant and author Stefan Roesch as keynote speaker, the event included sessions on developing engaging tourism experiences built around the host of Northern Ireland locations that have been used for film productions to date.
To read the Compulsive viewing at Screen Tourism Insight press release click here.
Tourism Conference 2015
The 2015 annual Tourism Conference showcased the key areas identified as catalysts for growth in Northern Ireland - screen tourism, global events and food tourism.
Focusing on the theme of 'Northern Ireland the Movie’, the conference featured a series of expert speakers including home-grown actor James Nesbitt, who recently starred in the critically acclaimed drama series The Missing for BBC1. The conference included a Screen Tourism Seminar which covered the opportunities presented by screen tourism.
Visitor Experience Grading Scheme
The Quality Grading Scheme for Visitor Experiences offers tourism operators a chance to be awarded with a 1 – 5 star rating to indicate the level of quality a visitor can experience when at their attraction or activity. Participating in the scheme assists operators to maintain and continually improve the quality of their offering and showcase many of Northern Ireland’s world class attractions. For more information click here.
Developing Game of Thrones® Visitor Experiences - Your Checklist
Northern Ireland Screen is the government-backed lead agency in Northern Ireland for the film, television and digital content industry, driving global growth through boosting our economy, celebrating our culture and enhancing our children’s education.
Invest NI is the business development agency for Northern Ireland. It aims to grow the local economy by supporting new and existing businesses to compete internationally, and by attracting new investment to Northern Ireland.