Posted on Monday 10 June 2013 by Ulster Business
Helen Carey of the Northern Ireland Tourist Board at the HBO Game of Thrones Exhibition at Titanic Belfast.
The series, made by US broadcaster HBO and screened on Sky Atlantic in the UK, has amassed a huge worldwide following and it is estimated that 30% of the bookings for the exhibition at Titanic Belfast have been made from overseas fans from as far afield as Australian, the Philippines and the US.
Belfast is one of only five places in the world and the only location in the British Isles chosen to host the exhibition, which opened over the weekend.
First Minister Peter Robinson officially launched the HBO Game of Thrones Exhibition at a reception at Crumlin Road Gaol organised by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) and NI Screen, joining leading cast members of the award-winning series.
Speaking at the event the First Minister said: "The film and television industries are vitally important to Northern Ireland and, through continued investment in our creative industries, we will continue to build on our reputation across the world as an excellent location to invest.
"I met with senior HBO executives at the Season 3 premiere in Los Angeles in March and took the opportunity to continue to press Northern Ireland's advantage as a first-class production location. I am pleased that HBO will be returning to Northern Ireland in July to film a fourth series.
"This world class exhibition provides us with a unique opportunity to welcome tourists to Northern Ireland from as far away as Australia, the Philippines and the US, and to demonstrate globally our connection to Game of Thrones. It is a great tribute to Belfast that it is one of only five destinations across the world chosen to host this unique tourist attraction."
NITB Chief Executive Alan Clarke added: "Game of Thrones has put the Northern Ireland film industry on a global stage and we are delighted the exhibition is being hosted in Belfast with thousands of fans coming from across the world to see it.
"Northern Ireland is growing increasingly popular for filming not only for the diverse beauty of its landscapes but the talent both in front of, and behind, the camera which in turn has generated millions for our local economy," he continued.
"Screen tourism is a growing trend and recent research suggests that one in ten overseas visitors are attracted to the UK because of a film or television production and they contribute a massive £1.8bn per year.
"Game of Thrones and other film productions made in Northern Ireland offers us an opportunity to develop exciting and engaging tourism experiences and we are working with the hospitality trade, NI Screen and the wider tourism industry to build on our film and TV tourism offer."
The event celebrated the success of the show for the Northern Ireland screen tourism industry and provided an opportunity to preview the exhibition.
Game of Thrones stars Maisie Williams (Arya Stark), Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran Stark), John Bradley (Samwell Tarley) and Richard Dormer (Beric Dondarrio), attended the event as well as tourism officials, stakeholders and media.