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TOURISM NI peddles Game of Thrones sites

As part of Northern Ireland’s strategy to use Game of Thrones to boost tourism numbers in the country where the hit HBO show is fi lmed, Tourism Ireland has created a frozen fountain and a life-size fi re- breathing dragon at Belfast Zoo. T e moving animatronic dragon,

designed to specifi cations set out by HBO, has been built by prop makers for the show. T e frozen fountain, portrayed as the aſt ermath of a visit by the snow White Walkers, was created using a snow machine. T e move is the latest in a series

of stunts which have included Targaryen-farmed dragon eggs on sale at St George’s Market in Belfast as well as animatronic ravens at its City Hall. Giant’s foot- prints have also appeared on Portstewart Strand. Tourism Ireland teamed up with HBO

T eWhite Walkers stunt forms part of the ongoing campaign Northern Ireland’s tourist board offers a

and Game of T rones in April for a 14-week campaign to promote Northern Ireland around the world in 2015, drawing fans of the series to the country to see the show’s signature sites. Among the sites fans can visit in Northern

Ireland are T e Iron Islands (Ballintoy Harbour), T e Stormlands (Cushendun Caves), T e King’s Road (Dark Hedges), Winterfell (Castle Ward) and Robb Stark’s Camp (Audley’s Field).

prominent rundown on the fi lming locations and where to fi nd them on its website and last year ran an 11-week online campaign in Britain, the US, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Scandinavia, which generated one million clicks and is estimated to have reached about 100 million fans worldwide. Discover Northern Ireland is teaming up with HBO for its 2015 campaign, which aims to bring more than two million tourists to ‘T e Real Westeros’ by 2016, up from 1.8 million in 2013. Details:

London remains world’s top destination

London has been named the world’s most popular tourist destination for the second year running, beating off rivals such as Paris, New York and Bangkok to secure top spot. Having attracted more

than 17.4m overseas travel- lers last year (revised down from initial estimates of 18.7m), London is forecast to draw in 18.82m international visitors in 2015, according to the Global Destinations Cities Index from Mastercard. T e index – which provides an in-depth ranking of the 132 most travelled-to cities from around the world – saw Bangkok occupy second place, followed by Paris and then Dubai. “I’m delighted that London has proudly

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London is forecast to draw in 18.82m international visitors in 2015 “With its unrivalled mix of history, culture,

held on to this coveted title, as we celebrate another triumphant and record-breaking year for tourism in the city,” said mayor of London Boris Johnson, who recently launched a con- sultation to boost the capital’s cultural tourism.


culinary gems and cutting-edge creativity, I’m confi dent that these accolades will keep coming as the capital continues to surprise and excite visitors from all over the world.” Europe now boasts three of the top fi ve cities,

London (1st), Paris (3rd) and Istanbul (5th). while nine European destinations feature in the top 20 overall. Details:

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