Belfast Telegraph

Arlene Foster pays tribute to 'Game of Thrones' effect on business trip to LA

By Clare Weir

Game of Thrones is good for business in Northern Ireland, the Enterprise Minister has said during a visit to Los Angeles. As the show enjoyed royal endorsement from the Queen during her visit to Belfast yesterday, Arlene Foster was meeting senior executives from HBO, the cable giant which makes the show, in America.

The show has already generated more than £87m for the economy here and the filming of season five, set to begin next month, is expected to boost that figure by a further £20m.

During the meeting with HBO films and mini-series senior vice presidents Jay Roewe and Janet Graham-Borba, she discussed further opportunities for the creative industries sector in Northern Ireland and the phenomenal success of the fantasy series.

Game of Thrones has become the most watched programme in HBO's history, having eclipsed even gangster crime drama The Sopranos.

Downhill Beach in Co Londonderry, the Dark Hedges in Ballymoney and Cushendall Caves in the Glens of Antrim have all been used as filming locations and the Paint Hall studios in the Titanic Quarter supports much of the CGI-driven scenes.

Mrs Foster said that the successful relationship with HBO has been incredibly positive for Northern Ireland.

"I look forward to continuing to work with HBO with a view to maximising the potential benefits offered by the creative industry sector in Northern Ireland," she said.

Earlier, the minister attended a business breakfast organised by NI Connections, which aims to bring the diaspora together, with the aim of encouraging further investment back home. Mrs Foster added: "Northern Ireland people are doing amazing things all over the world and, for that reason, it has never been more important to build a global network of people with local roots.

"Northern Irish Connections is all about reconnecting with that 'extended family' and harnessing their goodwill to spread the word and continue to build on our reputation as a good trading partner."

Belfast Telegraph

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