Game of Thrones boosts Northern Irish economy

Photo of man taking selfie by Game of Thrones sign in Northern Ireland

The HBO show Game of Thrones has bolstered the region’s economy by £110.7m 


Following the ‘Tolkien tourism’ that saw New Zealand’s economy lifted by £350m thanks to the filming of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, it’s been estimated Northern Ireland’s economy has been boosted by £110.7m by Game of Thrones, which has been filmed there for the past five years. In a region of nearly two million people, it’s also estimated Game of Thrones – which returns to Sky Atlantic in the UK on Monday  – has created the equivalent of more than 900 full-time and 5,700 part-time jobs, helping businesses from coach tour suppliers to small jewellery firms commissioned to make crowns and pendants for the show.

Northern Ireland Screen is the agency that enticed US network HBO to the region, after a visit to Los Angeles by then-first minister Peter Robinson. Since the series began in 2010, Northern Ireland Screen has invested over £12m in the series. In return, it was estimated last year that £110.7m has been sent on goods and services in the Northern Irish economy, and that from 2010-14 Game of Thrones brought in between £21m and £23m a year to the region. In 2014-15, when series five of Game of Thrones was filmed, Northern Ireland Screen invested £1.6m in the programme. The return from that investment has been estimated at £22m.

Moyra Lock, marketing director of Northern Ireland Screen, said: “The economic impact from Game of Thrones is incredible. But it’s more than the money. It’s also what it has ment in terms of added value.”

Aside from the businesses above, the programme has spawned spin-off industries in extras and post-production.

Game of Thrones is filmed at the Titanic Studios in Belfast, with Northern Ireland Screen building an additional two sound studios. The success of Game of Thrones has triggered  an upsurge in filmmaking in Northern Ireland, with TV shows Line of Duty and 37 Days, along with 2014 Hollywood movie Dracula Untold and more recently, critically-acclaimed JG Ballard adaptation High-Rise all being lensed there.

Game of Thrones has also inspired a business book. Click here to find out more


About author

Christian Koch

Christian Koch

Alongside his work for Director, Christian has written features for the Evening Standard, The Guardian, Sunday Times Style, The Independent, Q, Cosmopolitan, Stylist, ShortList and Glamour in an eclectic career which has seen him interview everybody from Mariah Carey to Michael Douglas through to Richard Branson with newspaper assignments including reporting on the Japanese tsunami and living with an Italian cult.

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