Game of Thrones fever is on the rise once again all over the world – and no more so than in Northern Ireland.
With anticipation mounting among fans everywhere for the long-awaited sixth season, Tourism Ireland has launched its latest campaign to showcase Northern Ireland to millions of Game of Thrones fans worldwide.
The new campaign, created in partnership with HBO, celebrates Northern Ireland as Game of Thrones Territory for the sixth year running. The campaign will also be rolled out by Tourism NI in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
An exciting feature of the 2016 campaign is a series of 10 intricately carved doors, depicting moments inspired by this season. The doors will be unveiled each week as season six unfolds – referencing key scenes and events from the latest episode and incorporating some of the iconic symbols of the show. The doors will be carved from the trees blown down in Storm Gertrude at the Dark Hedges in Co Antrim – which serves as the backdrop for the Kingsroad, perhaps the most iconic Game of Thrones® location in Northern Ireland. The wood from the fallen trees has been salvaged and will be carved into legacy pieces marking each episode, demonstrating the connection between the show and Northern Ireland. The doors will hang in pubs and other venues near filming locations across Northern Ireland, giving visitors a brand new Game of Thrones® Territory trail to follow. The first door – from episode one, which aired last night (Monday, 25 April) – will hang in The Cuan guest inn in Strangford.
Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister, Jonathan Bell, said: “Screen tourism continues to be a growth area and the filming of Game of Thrones® here in Northern Ireland continues to showcase our stunning scenery and countryside to the world. Fans from around the world have travelled to visit filming locations here and this Tourism Ireland campaign will help build on the success of their previous social media promotion, which saw dragon eggs for sale in Belfast and three-eyed ravens spotted across Northern Ireland. The online videos generated in the region of five million clicks, comments and shares and reached about 100 million fans across the world. I am certain the new initiative will continue to be a huge success, further encouraging fans to come and see for themselves the filming location of their favourite show.”
Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland, said: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with HBO in 2016, to highlight Northern Ireland – through the exciting events of Game of Thrones® – on the global stage. TV and film are recognised as strong influencers on travellers everywhere and the stellar popularity of Game of Thrones® is a fantastic opportunity for us to promote Northern Ireland to a huge audience of potential visitors. Our latest campaign is a fun and innovative way to bring the destination to the attention of Game of Thrones® fans everywhere – they will see our ads, spiking their curiosity about the landscapes and locations featured in the series and inspiring them to come and explore them for themselves.”
John McGrillen, CEO of Tourism NI, said: “This highly creative and innovative campaign will raise the profile of Northern Ireland as a holiday destination and encourage people to explore our stunning landscapes. There are over 20 Game of Thrones filming locations in Northern Ireland that are accessible to everyone including Tullymore Forest Park in Co Down, Pollnagollum Cave in Co Fermanagh and Ballintoy Harbour in Co Antrim.
“Across Northern Ireland we have embraced the global interest in Game of Thrones and developed a range of exciting and engaging visitor experiences built around the locations used in screening. Visitors wishing to explore the filming locations can do so independently or can choose from a range of guided location tours or immerse themselves in Game of Thrones themed adventures such as archery, cycle tours or banquets.”
Another element of the campaign includes a limited edition Game of Thrones® stamp for mail posted in Northern Ireland during the campaign. The campaign will also include some other surprising features around Northern Ireland, which will be rolled out by Tourism Ireland over the coming weeks – so watch this space!
Tourism Ireland will release a mixture of short films and images from the campaign on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube in ten markets – including Great Britain, the United States, Canada, Australia, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Scandinavia. It will build on the success of Tourism Ireland’s previous Game of Thrones® campaigns, which generated about five million clicks, comments and shares and reached about 100 million fans across the world.
Tourism Ireland will also target its own social fanbase – posting and tweeting to about 3.4 million Facebook fans and more than 323,000 followers on Twitter globally. The campaign will direct fans to a special section on Tourism Ireland’s international website, Ireland.com, which attracted more than 16.5 million views in 2015.
The campaign kicks off this week and will continue to roll out weekly until the end of season six, at the end of June.