Game of Thrones helped attract over one million US visitors to Ireland last year
Smash-hit TV series Game of Thrones played a huge part in Ireland’s tourism trade last year, as it helped attract a growing number of American tourists to Ireland last year.
Ireland’s tourism authority Fáilte Ireland published its 2016 ‘Tourism Facts’ for last year which showed that, while Britain is still the largest market for overseas tourism, there was a large increase in the number of people coming from further afield.
Visitors from Britain represented 41 per cent of overseas tourists, with mainland Europe accounting for another 36 per cent last year. But there was an increase to 17 per cent of visitors from North America, while six per cent came from other long-haul countries.
Fáilte Ireland’s head of research, Caeman Wall, said: “For example, this year’s Tourism Facts 2016 tells us that while Britain remains our largest source market for overseas tourism, mainland Europe is delivering more holidaymakers.
“Furthermore, for first time ever, Ireland has broken the 1 million barrier for North American holidaymakers. While we have known for some time that 2016 was a record year for tourism, the report adds more layers to our understanding of that performance.”
The Oscars of advertising
And while Game of Thrones goes from strength to strength as fans await the premiere date of July 16th for the seventh series, the show, which has won many awards in its own rights, has helped Ireland’s tourism board win two prestigious innovation awards.
Tourism Ireland’s Doors of Thrones advertising campaign won a gold and silver award at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. When Storm Gertrude battered filming location, and 400-year-old tourist attraction, the Dark Hedges near Ballymoney, Co Antrim, last January, the tourism board used it to its benefit. They used fallen wood from the trees to craft ten bespoke doors, which were individually carved to interpret the storyline of each new Season 6 episode.
The doors were then coincided to be installed at the local pub of a different Game of Thrones filming location, as the shows premiered each week, to add to the tourist trail.
To date, the ‘Doors of Thrones’ campaign, which reached an estimated 126 million people and generated an estimated £11.3 million (€13 million) in media coverage, has racked up over 30 global awards and last week was awarded a Gold Lion in the “outdoor – special build” category at the Cannes Lions, regarded as the Oscars of the advertising industry.
Tourism Ireland also won a Silver Lion for “use of ambient outdoor”, which is an industry term for placing ads in unusual locations and formats.