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Star Wars: The Force Awakens could boost Ireland's tourism in same way as Game of Thrones

By Michael Cogley

Published 30/11/2015

Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits UK cinemas on December 17
Star Wars: The Force Awakens hits UK cinemas on December 17
Skellig Michael will be used in the latest Star Wars film
Millions of fans have taken to YouTube to watch the latest Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer.
Millions of fans have taken to YouTube to watch the latest Star Wars: The Force Awakens trailer.
Nathalie Emmanuel and Emilia Clarke touch down in Belfast
Filming Game Of Thrones at Magheramorne Quarry
NITB's map of the locations used in Game of Thrones
Kit Harington as Jon Snow, left, in a scene from Game Of Thrones (HBO/AP)
The Game of Thrones ice wall is actually a disused cement works in Co Antrim
Game of Thrones Film Location - Dragonstone Mussenden Temple
Game of Thrones film location - Stranocum Dark Hedges - Ballymoney
Game of Thrones Film Location - Iron Islands - Ballintoy
Jon Snow in Game of Thrones season 5
On the map: the hit starring Lena Headey has brought the likes of Ballintoy to a world audience
Maisie Williams as Arya Stark. Photo Credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO
Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones season 5
Tyrion Lannister in Games of Thrones season 5
Myrcella Baratheon in Game of Thrones season 5
Sansa Stark and Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones season five
Carice van Houten as Melisandre. Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO
Kit Harington as Jon Snow. Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant. Photo Credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO
Kit Harington as Jon Snow, Stephen Dillane as Stannis Baratheon and Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth. Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO
Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei and Jacob Anderson as Grey Worm. Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO
Dean-Charles Chapman as Tommen Baratheon and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister. Photo Credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO
Alexander Siddig as Doran Martell. Photo Credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO
Indira Varma as Ellaria Sand and Deobia Opaeri as Areo Hotah. Photo Credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO
Kristofer Hivju as Tormund Giantsbane. Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister. Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO
Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark and Aidan Gillen as Littlefinger. Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO
Daniel Portman as Podrick Payne and Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth. Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO
Michael McElhatton as Roose Bolton, Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Bolton and Elizabeth Webster as Walda Frey. Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO
Conleth Hill as Varys and Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister. Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO
Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell and Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister. Photo Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO
Jonathan Pryce as the High Sparrow. Photo Credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO

Much in the way Game of Thrones boosted Northern Ireland's tourism, Tourism Ireland is expecting Star Wars: The Force Awakens to have a similar effect.

Part of the new Star Wars movie was filmed on Skellig Micheal off the coast of Kerry which, at the time, faced opposition from several environmental protesters.

The tourism body says that it expects that by the end of the year some eight million tourists will have visited Ireland, making it the best year for Irish tourism ever.

Speaking about the opportunity that Ireland has to attach itself to the Star Wars brand in 2016, chief executive officer at Tourism Ireland, Niall Gibbons, told Newstalk that it will be very beneficial for Ireland.

"It’s the most anticipated movie in history as you know some of it has been filmed in Skellig Micheal. The opportunity to associate the Ireland brand with the Star Wars brand is something that’s going to be good for all of us.

"We’ve seen previous successes with HBO and Game of Thrones particularly in Northern Ireland where we achieved over €30m of estimated advertising value on a very small investment so we’re particularly excited to be associated with one of the biggest brands," Mr Gibbons said.

New marketing will be done on 'Ireland's Ancient East' in the next year following on from the success of the 'Wild Atlantic Way'.

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