Ulster Unionist politician Roy Beggs MLA has spoken of the need for the NIEA to develop ‘Game of Thrones’ tourism the medieval Carrickfergus Castle and other such facilities to capture the imagination and enhance the tourism product that visitors might have when they visit Carrickfergus.
Roy Beggs MLA asked the Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Investment “How are the locations that have been used in the filming of ‘Game of Thrones” are being promoted to encourage additional tourism?”
The Minister responded, stating “My Department, through the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and Tourism Ireland, has undertaken new campaigns to promote the various locations that are used in filming ‘Game of Thrones’. Recently, at the invitation of NITB and Tourism Ireland, almost 20 journalist from around the world visited Northern Ireland to explore some of those locations, including the Dark Hedges near Ballymoney, as well as Cushendun, Cairncastle, Clenarm, Ballintoy and, on the final day, Tollymore forest, Inch Abbey and Castle Ward in County Down.”
Whilst the ‘Game of Thrones’ has not as of yet utilised the spectacular medieval Carrickfergus Castle, there is the potential of visits to the historical site benefiting from ‘Game of Thrones’ tourism.
East Antrim representative, Roy Beggs MLA responded by saying “I thank the Minister for her answer. The spectacular rugged scenery in my constituency of East Antrim and on the Causeway Coast has been widely promoted by the series. Can the Minister advise how she is cooperating with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency to develop the medieval Carrickfergus Castle and other such facilities to capture the imagination and enhance the tourism product that visitors might have when they come?”
The Minister responded to Roy Beggs supplementary question, saying “I know the castle has been used for filming projects other than ‘Game of Thrones’… So Carrickfergus Castle has already been identified, and I know that the Minister has plans to open the castle to the wider public. It is a fantastic resource to have. I hope that, when we do that, we do not lose some of the authenticity that we have in Carrickfergus Castle but instead capture that and allow everybody to take advantage of it.”
Roy Beggs MLA said “By developing displays and events at Carrickfergus Castle, the local restaurants and tourism sector could benefit from additional footfall and expenditure.”
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