As Game of Thrones finishes filming after a decade in Northern Ireland, HBO is celebrating the show's incredible legacy in the region by converting several filming locations into tourist attractions. For the first time ever, fans of the Emmy Award-winning series will have the unique opportunity to visit iconic sets from the show and immerse themselves in the world of Westeros.
According to Ulster University Business School’s Dr Peter Bolan (who has a PhD in leveraging film tourism impact)
‘Game of Thrones has been bringing a new kind of tourist to Northern Ireland already, people who wouldn’t necessarily have considered the destination before, but this announcement takes that to a whole new level and presents a fantastic opportunity to develop the screen tourism product much further and put Northern Ireland firmly on the wider tourist map’.
Each site at different Northern Ireland locations will feature not only the breath-taking sets, but will also exhibit displays of costumes, props, weapons, set decorations, art files, models, and other production materials. The visitor experience will be further enhanced by state-of-the-art digital content and interactive materials which will showcase some of the digital wizardry the series is known for.
Dr Bolan further stated
‘research tells us that film and television fans want something tangible and authentic when they visit a screen tourism destination, so when the Game of Thrones tourist visits Northern Ireland, they also want to inhabit Westeros and these new HBO supported Legacy attractions can bring that alive in an immersive way that these tourists will be seeking’.
Plans are underway to include the standing sets for iconic locations such as Winterfell, Castle Black, and Kings Landing alongside a formal studio tour of the Linen Mill Studios (near Banbridge) which will showcase a wide array of subject matter from the series spanning all seasons and settings.
Jeff Peters, Vice President, Licensing and Retail, HBO said
‘HBO is thrilled to celebrate the work of the Game of Thrones creative team and crew by preserving these locations and inviting fans to visit Northern Ireland and explore Westeros in person’
Students on the University’s tourism courses (primarily the BSc in International Travel and Tourism Management) study extensively about the opportunities, development and scope of film and screen tourism and how to leverage economic impact from such a growing phenomenon.
Dr Peter Bolan added
‘we ensure that our graduates in the tourism field are fully conversant with such vitally important forms of tourism and how to plan, create, manage and promote the kind of experience these tourists seek. That is crucial to expanding and growing our economy in the tourism arena both in Northern Ireland and internationally’.