Northern Ireland is an increasingly popular filming location. Its attraction is the variety of its landscape and the local expertise in the film industry. This brings opportunities for tourism services and the hospitality industries.
In recent years, films such as Good Vibrations and Dracula Untold and TV productions like Game of Thrones and The Fall have been filmed in Northern Ireland. Films, their locations and associations with Northern Ireland provide chances to create tourism experiences for a wide range of customers. Screen tourism is a growing trend and tourists enjoy visiting the landscapes and architecture that they see on screen.
Research suggests that that one in four adults choose their next holiday destination based on TV or film (Source: HBO). This creates potential for tourism businesses. Following the release of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, it was reported that there was a 40 per cent increase in visitors to New Zealand where it was filmed.
Screen tourism opportunities
There are a number of ways that Northern Ireland tourism businesses can capitalise on local film and television production, including:
- themed visitor experiences and activities
- location tours
- events like screenings and live action roleplays at filming locations
- themed food events
- themed package breaks
- accommodation for visitors attracted through screen tourism
- accommodation and services to crews filming on location
If your business is near a filming location, use this to add value to your existing tourism experiences. Sign posts and photo boards are important markers for tourists. Offer photo opportunities for visitors who can share these on social media.
If you are offering an experience relating to a particular production, detailed knowledge is vital for authenticity. Fans will appreciate any “insider knowledge” you can share about the production.
Support for screen tourism
Tourism NI offer guidance for business offering screen tourism experiences, particularly Game of Thrones.
Northern Ireland Screen can share details if filming locations (and in some cases photography) and can partner with other organisations for tourism initiatives and events. See the production catalogue for a list of all past, current and upcoming Northern Ireland Screen funded productions. This includes a list filming locations for each production.
Game of Thrones
HBO’s Game of Thrones, filmed in Northern Ireland, is one of the most popular and successful TV series ever made. It has provided opportunities for the NI tourism industry. Many businesses have already created visitor experiences relating to the TV series. Tourism Northern Ireland has developed guidelines to assist businesses wanting to provide tours based on Game of Thrones. Download the Game of Thrones guide for tour operators (PDF, 92KB).