It's no secret the entire world took a major liking to the hit TV series Game of Thrones; the Arab region is no different. In fact, GoT is so popular in some Arab nations, namely the UAE, that it's driving locals to visit Ireland — the country where the show was filmed.
According to travel service provider Dnata, the TV series has "contributed to a surge in visitors from the UAE to the Emerald Isle in the first six months of 2019." The company stated they've seen exponential growth in bookings made through their platforms from the UAE to Ireland.
Data recorded earlier this year revealed there was a 58 percent increase in general bookings and a 72 percent increase in the number of nights booked. Trips to the country increased "nearly two-fold" during Eid Al Fitr this year compared to last year.
The travel provider's records also showed that online searches for holidays to Ireland have seen a 675 percent rise in the first six months of this year.
The most preferred destinations for UAE travelers? Dublin and Cork. In a statement on the latest findings, Antonio Fellino, Vice President of Retail and E-Commerce for Dnata Travel UAE, said:
"Trips to Ireland offer UAE travellers unique opportunities including the chance to stay in a grand castle, or a small cottage at the heart of a colourful local village, or to explore rugged, scenic landscapes that follow in the footsteps of their favourite Game of Thrones characters."
While GoT seems to have had the greatest effect on the UAE-Ireland tourism route, there are also other contributing factors. These include the strengthening relationship between the two nations and the fact that Emiratis can enter Ireland without a visa.
Another reason listed behind the rise is the UAE's celebration of Ireland's National Day, during which the former lights up Burj Khalifa in green in honor of the occasion.
GoT isn't only inspiring travel trends in the region
GoT fever is just too real in the entire region and has inspired several trends.
One saw several Arabs name their businesses after characters or places featured on the show. In Lebanon, a pub honoring GoT's Arya opened in Byblos city and another named Castle Black opened in Zahle. Another trend saw musicians Arabize the show's opening theme.
For some, the GoT obsession reached unprecedented levels leading them to take to the streets in order to support the show's characters. Earlier this year, people in Beirut spotted several banners on a bridge. They were put up in support of Jon Snow's battle against the White Walkers.