Game of Thrones - Boosting Andalusia's Tourism
by John Bascombe on Thursday, May 21, 2015
It seems like Game of Thrones fever has even gripped Spain's political world. During his first trip to the European Union since his succession to the throne the Spanish king, Felipe VI, was presented with a box set of the GoT series by the Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias. In October 2014, GoT started filming in Spain using Andalusia as the setting for parts of its fifth series. In a previous blog post we talked about the locations used and about how the filming in Spain will put Spanish cities such as Seville on the world map. In this article I want to talk in more detail about this second point looking at how Spain's tourist industry and society have benefited from the arrival of this fantasy series to their towns and cities.
- According to the Andalusian Institute of Statistics and Cartography's Tourism Situation Survey, due to the Game of Thrones series, in 2015 in the months of January, February and March, Andalusia received 4.27 million visitors which represents a 9.6% increase compared to the same months in 2014.
- A study conducted by the travel website Skyscanner showed that after the first episode of the fifth series was aired there were more internet searches for Seville.
- Just two weeks after crews started shooting in Spain James Costos, the U.S. Ambassador to Spain, stated that local tourism had risen by 15% in Seville and Osuna.
These figures give a good, statistical overview of how tourism has been boosted in Andalusia, its capital and the town of Osuna. However what does this look like in practice? To talk about this in more detail we can study the advantages Osuna's tourism industry gained as its bullring featured as “Daznak's Pit” in the series. Just a few weeks after film crews arrived in this small town, the tourism information center had to extend its opening hours to deal with the touristic boom and hotels became booked up. Several restaurants also seized the opportunity to attract more visitors with one redecorating its interior following a Game of Thrones' theme while others created special menus and tapas named after the show's characters. The choice to shoot some of the fifth series in Andalusia also helped to create jobs as extras were required for the different scenes including the battle sequence in Osuna's bullring with the Entertainment Weekly reporting that after Fresco Film, the local production company, issued a casting call for the aforementioned scene 86,000 hopefuls applied for the 600 roles available. The authorities of this small town in the Province of Seville were also very keen to maintain the influx of visitors after the cameras had been packed away. With this in mind Osuna's mayor Rosario Andujar outlined that the town hall was not only planning to create a section on its website with information about the landmarks where this fantasy drama was shot but also to open a museum with exhibitions about the filming . Furthermore, Osuna's business association looked into the option of offering GoT location tours.
In fact one luxury, American travel agency has already seen the economic potential of offering tours around the Spanish film locations which form part of the world of Dorne. Their experience offers visitors the opportunity to explore some of the sites and destinations which feature in this show with stays in Madrid, Seville, Osuna and Granada.
The number of applications for the extra roles is not the only indication that GoT mania has gripped Spain. This fever is also demonstrated by the fact that, according to El País, several thousand visitors were expected to attend the GoT exhibition which took place in Madrid from 29th April to 3rd May. This traveling show displayed various original props, offered a 4D virtual reality experience where fans could ascend the Wall in the Castle Black elevator, had a replica of the Iron Throne for people to sit on and immersed the visitors in some of the series' most well-known scenes thanks to the photo stations.
In conclusion, in this article we have seen how the GoT producers' decision to bring their award-winning production to Spain had both economic, touristic and social benefits for Andalusia. If you are a Thrones fan and you are catching up on the latest series why not watch it in Spanish, on the Canal+ website, and improve your listening skills at the same time? You could also organize your own GoT locations tour to Spain with your friends or family following in the footsteps of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros' characters while also enjoying Andalusia's intricate architecture, beautiful surroundings and rich culture.
Keywords: game of thrones locations,osuna,tourism in spain,osuna spain,got series,game of thrones spain