Screen fantasy on the rise

Screen fantasy on the rise

Be it the Green Dragon of Hobbiton, or the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, conferences are increasingly packaging their programmes around a bit of screen fantasy.

At a joint Tourism Ireland/Tourism New Zealand Screen Tourism discussion, in Wellington last week, industry leaders spoke about the importance of screen tourism for attracting conference business.

Like Tourism New Zealand, Tourism Ireland has a Business Tourism Unit that focuses on C&I business, says Tourism Ireland CEO Niall Gibbons.

‘The work we do around conference and incentives is really important for us, particularly from the United States. We know that people who are coming for conferences spend four times more than the average tourist,’ he adds.

Alison Metcalfe, Tourism Ireland director of marketing North America, Australia and New Zealand, says there has been a huge increase in conference groups incorporating Game of Thrones-themed dress up and interactive experiences.

‘Heading down to discover ‘Westeros’ in real life, touring the filming locations and seeing the mountains, forests, coastlines and castles that bring the Seven Kingdoms to life on screen have become incredibly popular features of conference programmes.

‘So, too, is the Titanic experience, in Belfast, where conference guests can enjoy an elegant dinner, perhaps in the Titanic Suite featuring a replica of the liner’s Grand Staircase,’ she adds.

Tourism New Zealand chief executive, Stephen England-Hall, agreed that seeing New Zealand’s film locations and enjoying movie-themed activities were a large part of the experience sought by visiting conference delegates.