90% of tours in Dubrovnik are now focused on the show, and not on historical sites
Dubrovnik, Croatia stands on its own as a tourist attraction, being one of the most beautiful cities on the Mediterranean. Even before ‘Game of Thrones’ aired its first episode on HBO, tourism was on the rise following post-war reconstruction in the 1990s and 2000s. The beautiful location, weather, and architecture all made for wonderful sight-seeing.
But then things started to get very interesting when ‘Game of Thrones’ featured Dubrovnik as one of the show’s central locations, King’s Landing. An already blossoming city has seen itself thrust into the spotlight recently, and is now the most popular city in Croatia for tourism.
We pulled Dubrovnik tourism data where available, and made several calls to tourism companies in the area. It was the same story from everyone we spoke with, that on average 90% of all tours in the city now feature ‘Game of Thrones’ show locations. Some of the most popular tour destinations include:
- The Red Keep
- Blackwater Bay
- The Walls
- Pile Gate
- Little Finger’s Brothel (no sex allowed)
- And our personal favorite, The Walk of Shame stairs, where we’re sure nobody yells “Shame!” while doing the walk themselves
While not surprising that ‘Game of Thrones’ filming locations would be a big hit, the one thing that did surprise us was data showing that approximately 90% of tours in the city are now focused on the show, and not on historical sites.
The other interesting data we found was that the source of new tourism to Dubrovnik is expanding rapidly. What was once mostly a destination for European travelers looking to visit a quiet corner of the continent has turned into a global sensation. The number of visitors from Asia and North America is growing exponentially thanks to ‘Game of Thrones’ raising awareness of the city.
But is this sustainable?
The great news for any city that sees a boom in tourism is that the majority of the time, increases are sustained for anywhere between three to five years following a movie’s premiere and suspect these numbers are extended for popular television shows. We would be willing to predict that ‘Game of Thrones’ will also continue to provide travelers with a reason to visit popular filming locations for years to come.
Tour guides in Dubrovnik almost all offer a ‘Game of Thrones’ walking tour now, which, from what we have discovered, are immensely popular these days. Now we just need to figure out a time to go there ourselves to try them out!