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Game Of Thrones boosts new Tourism Ireland visitor drive

By Dearbhail McDonald

Tourism Ireland has entered into a new licensing arrangement with American cable and satellite television network HBO to coincide with the forthcoming launch of the seventh series of the hugely popular Game Of Thrones series.

It is the second time the all-island agency has collaborated with HBO to exploit the tourism potential from Game Of Thrones - much of which is filmed in Northern Ireland - following last year's Doors Of Thrones campaign.

Tourism Ireland, led by chief executive Niall Gibbons, said the new licensing deal was leading to a surge in tourists visiting cult film locations.

Its best-known locations in Northern Ireland include Castle Ward in Co Down and the Dark Hedges in Co Antrim.

Mr Gibbons said: "We are able to capitalise on a huge audience." But he would not divulge the content of the new Game Of Thrones agreement ahead of the highly anticipated release of the seventh series.

It will air in the US on July 16 and a day later in the UK.

Mr Gibbons said: "Game Of Thrones is the hottest ticket in town in relation to Northern Ireland just now."

This week he is hosting 13 leading travel agents from Hong Kong, who will visit key locations including Titanic Belfast, the Giant's Causeway, the Irish National Stud and Dublin.

The arrival of the delegation follows a recent Tourism Ireland sales mission to China.

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