Belfast Telegraph

Editor's Viewpoint: Tourism authorities deserve praise for using film and TV opportunities to help rejuvenate Northern Ireland's economy

Belfast's skyline
Belfast's skyline

Editor's viewpoint

For far too long, Northern Ireland was the purveyor of bad news as the Troubles unfolded, but happily in recent years this province can claim to have real star quality.

Last night there was a glittering premiere in Belfast for the beginning of the final series of the legendary Game of Thrones, which was largely made here. The Belfast premiere was the only one outside New York, and there was a strong representation of the cast to showcase one of the most popular TV series in the world, and HBO's most-watched show on record.

It has meant big business for Northern Ireland, and in 2016 the resultant tourism from Game of Thrones was estimated to have been worth £30m to the local economy. Northern Ireland Screen also estimates that a whopping £210m has been spent on goods and services here since production began in 2009.

Game of Thrones has put Northern Ireland on the world map in a good way, which would have been unimaginable more than a decade ago. There is little doubt that this remarkable series will continue to generate interest in tourism here for a long time to come.

Another enduring visitor attraction is the site of the construction of RMS Titanic, which tragically sank in the cold Atlantic almost exactly 107 years ago this weekend.

On a smaller scale, but significant nevertheless, are the plans being drawn up to capitalise on the remarkable success of TV series Derry Girls, which has won major critical acclaim, including nominations in the 2019 television Baftas and the 2019 Broadcast Awards.

It is right to note that Northern Ireland has its own star quality, even if our continued lack of a working government could be filmed as a tragedy or a farce, or a bit of both. Our tourist authorities deserve praise for making the most of these film and other opportunities which illustrate, once again, the resourcefulness of our economy in reimagining and reinventing itself down the ages, and through the initiative of so many talented and resourceful people.

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