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Game of Thrones Filming in Dubrovnik Brings in Quarter of a Million Tourists, Study Reveals

Game of Thrones filming in Dubrovnik

A study recently published in the International Journal of Tourism Research has revealed what filming of HBO hit series Game of Thrones in Croatia has done for tourism.

Zagreb Institute of Economics researchers Marina Tkalec, Ivan Zilic, and Vedran Recher, with Johannes Kepler from the University of Linz, have analyzed what the filming of the hit series in Croatia has done for tourism in their research study titled ‘The effect of film industry on tourism: Game of Thrones and Dubrovnik’.


According to the study, 244,415 tourists have visited Dubrovnik between 2012 and 2015 due to Game of Thrones using the city as a filming location. Around 60,000 people have visited the Dubrovnik region annually, solely because the series was shot there.

The analysis says that those motivated to visit Dubrovnik because of Game of Thrones have spent 126 million euros from 2012 to 2015.

Original Throne has been an attraction in Dubrovnik (Screen)

“This study evaluates the effects of the film industry on tourism outcomes in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Using the synthetic control approach, we estimate the causal effect of a highly broadcasted TV series, Game of Thrones, on tourist arrivals. The use of such a data-driven procedure is an important step towards identification-based empirical work in tourism research as it enables us to build a credible synthetic counterfactual and to answer the “what if” type of questions,” the researchers say.

“We find a robust and positive effect of filming the TV series in Dubrovnik on the number of tourist arrivals. Additionally, we show that there are positive spillover effects on other counties and the whole country. Placebo tests show that the estimated effects are relatively large when compared to other counties implying our results are not driven simply by chance.”

Game of Thrones, which is one of the most popular series on the planet, began filming in Dubrovnik in 2011 in its 2nd season when it was selected as King’s Landing. Videos like the one below helped Dubrovnik attract fans.

“Evaluations of this type have great social and economic importance as they enable policy makers to evaluate the viability of eventual public investment in attracting production houses that would in future film new movies and serials in Croatia. Such evaluations should also work for all other forms of public spending and subsidies so that taxpayers and public policy makers can be sure that public money is invested in certain public policies and economically and socially justified. Unfortunately, such evaluations in Croatia are very rare and decisions on spending public funds are usually carried out without any prior evaluation, while subsequent evaluations of the efficiency of spending these funds are either not working or conducted on a very superficial and insufficiently professional level”, a statement from the Economic Institute.

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