Pop culture tourism has become a big thing over the past decade or so, as more kids who grew up watching classic TV and movie franchises become adults with jobs and disposable income, and a desire to see where their favorite Star Wars or Game of Thrones scene was filmed.
An excellent example is how Game of Thrones revitalized the Spanish town of Osuna after it was used for the fighting pits of Meereen in season five of the show. And now the BBC looks into the uptick in tourism Northern Ireland is experiencing due to it being a primary location in the show.
According to Northern Ireland Screen, Game of Thrones has brought in over $200 million in U.S. dollars for the region. That’s pretty good considering the organization only had to put in $18 million across six seasons in funding. The show also receives tax breaks from the government, which NI Screen exec Richard Williams defends, pointing out that Game of Thrones tourism money ends up back in the hands of local business.
“To be very clear about that, that is spent on people who live here and on services that are provided by people here,” he told the BBC.
“Two years ago, there were three operators promoting Game of Thrones experiences and now we’ve over 25 with more in the pipeline. Those businesses are also reporting that business has doubled each year upon year which is just tremendous. People come for Game of Thrones and stay for Northern Ireland.”
Some of the sights you can see in Northern Ireland: the Dark Hedges (pictured above), better known to Game of Thrones fans as the Kingsroad. Ballintoy Harbour serves for most shots involving the Iron Islands. And Tollymore Forest was where the first scene of the show was filmed, along with nearly all other forest scenes.