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Game Of Thrones NI online tourism drive reaches 100m people

By Noel McAdam

Published 27/08/2016

A scene from the hit TV adaptation of George RR Martin's Game Of Thrones (Sky/PA)
A scene from the hit TV adaptation of George RR Martin's Game Of Thrones (Sky/PA)

A tourism campaign cashing in on the Games of Thrones phenomenon reached 100m potential visitors to Northern Ireland last year, it has been revealed.

The campaign, based on images and short films from the globally-renowned series, also had five million 'clicks' on a website, Tourism Minister Simon Hamilton disclosed.

The campaign directs fans to a special section on Tourism Ireland's international website, Ireland.com, which showcases Northern Ireland locations for the show.

And on display are not only the most iconic - the Dark Hedges near Armoy - but also Tollymore Forest Park, Castle Ward, Pollnagollum Cave in Fermanagh, Ballintoy Harbour and Downhill Beach and Mussenden Temple near Castlerock.

With a new season of the series confirmed - and due to be filmed over the winter months - Tourism NI can hope to capitalise on the Northern Ireland connections in the next year.

The fantasy adventure has already contributed an estimated £110m to the province's economy, according to figures from Northern Ireland Screen.

In a written Assembly answer yesterday Mr Hamilton said the latest campaign had been "rolled out" from last April to coincide with the sixth season, with a number of special features.

A series of 10 carved doors depicting moments from the season, which were made from the wood of fallen trees at the Dark Hedges, were revealed in locations across the province as each episode was shown.

There was also a set of three special kitchen knives made from a re-imagining of the show's 'Valyrian Steel' unveiled by chef Stephen Toman at his OX restaurant in Belfast.

In addition, a series of limited edition Games of Thrones stamps for mail posted in NI and even an artwork in the Ulster Museum was brought into the campaign.

William Mark Fisher's famous painting 'Landscape with Sheep' was copied to include giants and dragons from Game of Thrones and placed close to the original in the Ulster Museum.

Mr Hamilton added: "Tourism Ireland is releasing a mixture of short films and images of the campaign elements on social media. Last year's campaign generated about five million clicks, likes and shares and reached up to 100 million potential visitors."

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