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Ireland and HBO partner to promote Game of Thrones tourism ahead of new season

Ireland has partnered up again with HBO before the launch of the seventh series of Game of Thrones in order to promote tourism. Northern Ireland has seen a rise in foreign visitors while the domestic sector is lagging behind.

Northern Ireland is once again to become the destination of choice for millions of Game of Thrones fans as the country’s tourism authorities have reached an agreement with HBO.

It is for the second time that Tourism Ireland is using the Game of Thrones franchise in order to attract tourists and the industry has seen a rise after much of the acclaimed movie was filmed in locations around Northern Ireland.


“We are able to capitalise on a huge audience,” said Tourism Ireland chief executive, Niall Gibbons, according to Attractions Management. “Game Of Thrones is the hottest ticket in town in relation to Northern Ireland just now.”

Details for this year’s campaign have not been revealed, the same source said, but it is expected that it will focus on filming locations and where to find them.

Last year’s campaign, focusing on “Doors of Thrones”, using a set of 10 intricate doors, hung across a variety of locations in Northern Ireland, each telling the story of a Season 6 episode has reached over 100 million people online.

Ireland is not the first country to serve as a filming location only to see a spike in tourism. Iceland has also registered a growth in this sector following similar campaigns promoting sites that have been featured in the Game of Thrones series.

Tourism Ireland announced last month that between January-March 2017, there has been an increase of +1% with the biggest growth being due to visitors coming from North America with an increase of over +23.2% in the first three months.

And the country is also looking to cash in on renewed interests from China.

“Visitor numbers from Australia and Developing Markets for the first three months are also really strong, up +16%. We’re seeing the benefit of our sales missions to Australia/New Zealand, China, India and the Middle East in 2016. Tourism Ireland’s 2017 sales mission to China is currently under way in a bid to increase our share of this rapidly growing tourism market,” said Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland.


Figures for Mainland Europe have been flat during the three months but there is a revived interest coming from France and Spain.

The only negative numbers registered were among British tourists. This could be due to the weaker pound and rising prices and the industry will closely monitor Brexit in order to fully understand the impact it will have on tourism in general.

“The fall in British visitors (-6.5%) reflects the economic situation. The drop in the value of sterling has made holidays and short breaks here more expensive for British visitors; and economic uncertainty is making British travellers more cautious about their discretionary spending. This is impacting on travel to Ireland. We will continue to monitor developments around Brexit closely, to better understand and plan for its implications and will be meeting tourism industry leaders again next week. Competitiveness and value for money will be a more important message than ever throughout 2017,” Gibbons added.

The Game of Thrones bid is expected to be a success in terms of attracting visitors as the series is extremely popular online and as it draws to a close it has more and more fans from China and India as well.

Sylvia Jacob