The applicant behind the £24 million Game of Thrones attraction have confirmed the intention to open to the public next year.
And Linen Mill Studios say the development – which will support 194 jobs, most sourced locally – will represent Northern Ireland’s “third major tourist attraction” and put it on a par with Titanic Belfast and the Giants’ Causeway.
As Armagh I revealed approval for the development – which includes a separate park and ride adjacent to the Boulevard retail park – was granted at a meeting of ABC Council’s planning committee this week.
Linen Mill Studios says it “wholeheartedly welcomes” the decision by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council to grant planning permission for the construction of the Game of Thrones Studio Tour at its site outside Banbridge.
The council’s decision is an important step toward the opening of the major new tourist attraction in 2021.
Developed under licence with Warner Brothers Consumer Products, the Game of Thrones Studio Tour at Linen Mill Studios will help transform the local economy, put Banbridge on the world stage and offer a much-needed boost for the Northern Ireland tourism sector.
Once completed, the Studio Tour is expected to draw some 600,000 visitors a year and help generate in the region of £400 million of tourism revenue annually for Northern Ireland.
It will also support 194 jobs, the bulk of which will be sourced from the local area.
Andrew Webb, Managing Director at Linen Mill Studios, said: “This decision paves the way for one of the most exciting visitor attractions in Northern Ireland’s history, one which will draw thousands of visitors from near and far, provide a host of direct and indirect jobs and underpin Northern Ireland’s economy at a crucial time.
“The Game of Thrones Studio Tour has already stirred the excitement of fans around the world and promises to play a significant part in rejuvenating the tourism sector on the island of Ireland in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It is specifically significant for Northern Ireland as it adds a third major tourist attraction alongside Titanic Belfast and The Giants’ Causeway.
“The authenticity of the Game of Thrones Studio Tour at Linen Mill Studios is the essential connection with the show, which has been such a part of the Banbridge area for so many years, and will ensure that the unparalleled craftsmanship and artistic magic of all those who worked on it lives on for many years to come.
“We feel privileged to be custodians of the only Game of Thrones Studio Tour anywhere in the world and are determined to make sure the Studio Tour accurately reflects the entertainment, drama and quality for which the show is renowned.”