Game of Thrones tourists spent €58m in North Ireland last year

Published on : Monday, April 22, 2019

Northern Ireland earns €58m from tourists’ expenditure in 2018 tourism season.  The record numbers of Game of Thrones fans travelled from all over the world to Northern Ireland last year to visit their favourite locations from the TV show, including the Haunted Forest and the Kingsroad, and spent an unprecedented £50 million (€58 million) in the North Ireland.



The new tourism industry figures from Tourism North Ireland show that one in every six international tourists were inspired to travel to the North in 2018 because of Game of Thrones. The GoT fans came from every part of the world , including India, North America, China, Australia and from across Europe to see where some of the epic battles and nail-biting scenes from HBO’s most-watched series were filmed.



According to the latest estimates suggest that the total number of Game of Thrones fans from international origin who travelled to the North last year hit a high of 350,000 visitors. John McGrillen, chief executive of Tourism Northern Ireland, said Game of Thrones had dramatically “changed the perception of Northern Ireland” as a tourist destination.




Mr McGrillen said that it has been an extraordinary success and it has been fantastic for Northern Ireland to be associated with this worldwide success over the past 10 years. It has been so positive for Northern Ireland and HBO has been very, very good to them throughout this time. There are at least 26 filming location from Game of Thrones that fans can explore in the North, and more than 23 visitor experiences have been developed around these locations, from coach tours and specialist tour services to Game of Thrones-inspired food experiences.



The final season of Game of Thrones is currently airing, and Mr McGrillen expects the show to continue to be a tourist hit for the North well into the future.



He added that they are going to have a enduring attraction in Northern Ireland for fans with the Game of Thrones legacy experiences. The first attraction – the Game of Thrones studio tour – is due to open in spring 2020 at the Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge, and this new 110,000sq ft interactive experience will give fans the opportunity to see behind the scenes how the series is made and feature many of the original props and costumes and sets from the series, which is going to be very exciting.



The tourism chiefs in Derry, meanwhile, are also hoping they can attract a new generation of screen tourists to the city by developing must-see attractions for fans of the television series, Derry Girls.



The local officials are working closely with Channel 4, Screen North Ireland and Tourism Ireland to develop “legacy” projects in the city that will give fans the opportunity to connect with their favourite characters or moments from the show.



Jennifer O’Donnell, tourism manager with Derry City and Strabane District Council, said the council wanted to create a “Derry Girls experience” that would showcase the city and attract fans to visit.



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