Game of Thrones worth £150m to Northern Ireland economy
GAME of Thrones has been worth almost £150 million to the Northern Ireland economy since the show began.
Northern Ireland Screen has estimated the overall value of the production to be £148m.
Economy minister Simon Hamilton revealed the amount in response to an assembly question by the DUP's George Robinson, who asked his colleague to outline the impact the TV show had on tourism in the north west.
Mr Hamilton said Game of Thrones was now the biggest TV show in the world, broadcast in 199 countries worldwide and watched by more than 18.4m viewers.
"Its global popularity offers a huge opportunity for Northern Ireland to position itself internationally and to promote our destination to a global audience," he said.
"Northern Ireland is the principal filming location and HBO headquarters using Titanic Studios, Belfast and Linenmill Studios, Banbridge as well as many spectacular locations across Northern Ireland. Twenty-two of these locations are publicly accessible, three of which are located in the north west region including Binevenagh, Downhill Beach and Portstewart Strand."
Mr Hamilton added that the show had been the catalyst for business growth in Northern Ireland and had provided an opportunity for the tourism industry to develop new and innovative visitor experiences.
In 2013, he said, Game of Thrones visitor experiences were not available - now there are almost 25.
"These experiences range from guided coach tours, immersive experiences, food experiences and self-guided maps/ itineraries. Many of the visitors explore the locations independently taking in the locations within the North West region," he said.
"Individual businesses report that they receive visitors from all over the world and that the demand is generally sustained throughout the year. Some of the more established operators have also reported that their Game of Thrones business has doubled in the past year which has allowed them to make further investments in developing their Game of Thrones offer."