East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson is calling for the development of the Game of Thrones set at Magheramorne Quarry as a tourist attraction when filming of the television show ends.
Mr. Wilson has been in contact with film company HBO, the Department of the Economy and Mid and East Antrim Council to discuss how the film set could be used to benefit tourism in Northern Ireland.
In a statement, Mr. Wilson said: “Game of Thrones has captured a huge audience across the world and it was obvious from the number of people who come to visit the Dark Hedges and the number of buses that stop at the gates of Magheramorne Quarry so that people could get a glimpse of part of the set sitting high on the quarry side, that there was massive tourist potential in giving greater public access to the sets that had been built for the filming of the series.
“We are continually looking for ways of developing tourist assets in Northern Ireland and it would seem that this is an obvious source of tourist revenue for attracting tourists to the Antrim Coast and would sit well with Carrickfergus Castle and The Gobbins Path as a tourist attraction for the area, all of them within very easy reach of each other.
“Over the years considerable public investment has gone into facilities to attract HBO and to facilitate their filming in Northern Ireland and I believe it is incumbent on the Department of the Economy and the Tourist Board to look at how the interest in the Game of Thrones could continue to be exploited in Northern Ireland after we no longer reap the benefits of the filming which is currently taking place.
“I know that the local council is interested in how they might play a role in the long term plans for Magheramorne Quarry and have envisaged greater public use of the site anyhow with a downhill cycle track, fresh water diving school, forest walks etc along with housing.
“To add the Game of Thrones set to the mix would be of immense benefit realising the full potential of this magnificent site, which is the size of the whole of the Titanic Quarter of over 300 acres and it is an opportunity that should not be missed.
“Sadly, in the absence of a functioning Assembly and a dedicated Northern Ireland Minister, this is an opportunity that could pass us by and therefore it is incumbent on officials within the Department of Economy and the Tourist Board to take up the issue and start exploring what potential there may be with HBO.”