Journalists from around the world are visiting Northern Ireland this week, to attend the Game of Thrones exhibition in the Waterfront Hall and also to explore some of the locations used in filming the hit HBO TV series.
Tourism Ireland has invited writers, broadcasters and bloggers from GB, Canada, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and Spain to Northern Ireland, to attend the opening night of the sell-out exhibition of the Game of Thrones artefacts in the Waterfront Hall in Belfast, as well as to explore the countryside where much of the filming takes place.
The group’s itinerary, designed by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, took them on a tour which included stops at the Dark Hedges near Ballymoney, Cushendun, Cairncastle, Glenarm and Ballintoy. Before heading along the Causeway Coastal Route, the writers spent time in Belfast, where they visited the SS Nomadic and Titanic Belfast and enjoyed a tour of the film studios where many of the sets are housed. The group also had a cycle tour in Tollymore Forest Park, watched a falconry display at Inch Abbey and enjoyed a ‘hog roast’ banquet at Castle Ward in Co Down.
This media visit is another way in which Tourism Ireland uses popular films and TV shows to maximise interest in Northern Ireland overseas. This spring, Tourism Ireland also launched an advertising and social media campaign, in conjunction with Game of Thrones creators, HBO, to promote Northern Ireland for holidays across the world. The campaign, which runs until next week, involves ads on Facebook and Twitter, to leverage the huge global popularity of Game of Thrones and its strong associations with Northern Ireland – the physical and spiritual home of the series, where much of the filming takes place.
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “TV and film are recognised as strong influencers on prospective visitors, and this exciting exhibition gives us another great reason to invite key members of the international media to Northern Ireland. Game of Thrones fans worldwide will see the articles these journalists write, spiking their curiosity about the landscapes and locations featured in the series and inspiring them to come and explore them for themselves. This visit follows our successful social media campaign in conjunction with Game of Thrones creators, HBO, in recent months which has promoted Northern Ireland to fans of the series across the world.”
International journalists at Inch Abbey, Downpatrick, Co Down, where they enjoyed a falconry display by John Carmichael, Northern Ireland School of Falconry (front centre). Also pictured is tour guide, Dee Morgan (front right).
Further media information:
Elaine Moore/Clair Balmer, Tourism Ireland
Tel: 07766 527719
Notes to editors:
• Tourism Ireland is the organisation responsible for promoting Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland overseas as a leading holiday destination.
• Tourism is responsible for in excess of 4.9% of GDP in Northern Ireland and supports approximately 40,000 jobs.
• In 2013, an estimated 1.789 million overseas visitors visited Northern Ireland, delivering revenue of approximately £438 million.
• Tourism Ireland’s international website is ireland.com, which is rolling out in 11 different language versions for 30+ markets around the world this year.