Rumor has it that a direct Dublin-Beijing route is in the works. But it’s not just because Beijingers are big fans of Ireland. It turns out that Game of Thrones is a huge part of the draw.
Chinese tourists are already flocking to Ireland to visit locations across the north, where many scenes from HBO’s massively popular show have been filmed.
The Dark Hedges
Senior executives from China’s Hainan Airlines are expected to attend meetings about a possible Dublin-Beijing route next month. The deal could be reached sometime in June, The Sunday Independent reports.
There are currently no direct flights from China to Ireland. However, according to Tourism Ireland chief executive Niall Gibbons a direct route between the two countries would not only be "transformational" but it is “absolutely vital."
"Game of Thrones is the hottest ticket in town in relation to Northern Ireland just now," Gibbons added.
During last week’s Asia Matters summit, Gibbons also pressed the issue of making visas easier for Asian tourists to obtain.
With this move, Ireland’s tourism board is hoping to tap into Asia’s rapidly growing tourism market. And they believe that marketing to Game of Thrones fans will help to drastically increase tourism in the country.
Tourism campaigns such as the 2016 'Doors of Thrones' campaign have already led to a huge increase in visitors to Northern Ireland's stunning locations where Game of Thrones was shot. Tourism Ireland is planning to partner with HBO yet again this year. The new campaign will kick off at the same time Game of Thrones season seven premiers in July 2017.