A new Game of Thrones studio tour in Banbridge is expected to employ up to 200 people and provide a £400m tourist spend boost for Northern Ireland by 2030, according to a new report.
Linen Mill Studios, one of the key production sites for the hit TV series, will reopen this autumn as a new tourism attraction in partnership with HBO.
The project on the Castlewellan Road was first announced in late 2018 and total investment is expected to be around £23.7m.
Planning applications have now been submitted with development involving extending the existing studio buildings into a 110,000-square-foot interactive experience dedicated to Game of Thrones.
With car parking at the site a concern, a large park and ride facility is to be built adjacent to the Boulevard retail complex in Banbridge for up to 350 vehicles.
Analysis into the potential socio-economic impact of the venture found that it will operate 12 hours per day, seven days a week, and is expected to attract up to 600,000 visitors per year.
This will make it the third most visited tourist attraction in Northern Ireland behind the Giant’s Causeway (1.04 million visitors) and Titanic Belfast (815,000).
The Winterfell great hall will form the centre piece of the tour, while it will also feature original sets, props and costumes used in the filming of the HBO series, which ended in May 2019.
A restaurant is also planned and a ‘back-lot’ café, designed to replicate the studio catering experience.
SDLP Upper Bann MLA Dolores Kelly welcomed the jobs boost for the area.
She said: “Job creation in this part of the country is long overdue and I am glad to see we are moving in the right direction.”