Even though winds of winter came to Seven Kingdoms, summer is here in Balkans, and all real fans of Game of Thrones can use it to visit Kings Landing, ummm I mean Dubrovnik, Croatia. Dubrovnik was always a jewel of Balkans and Adriatic coast. It has a beautiful seaside, magnificent fortress and old city, delicious sea food, festivals, all prerequisites for successful tourism. Tourism is one of the most important industries for Croatia, a country that has almost 6 000 km of coast. It was given another chance for boosting its tourism, when producers chose Croatia and Dubrovnik to be the main location for filming one of the most popular TV shows of today – Game of Thrones. Dubrovnik served as a fictional city, Kings Landing, the capital where a lot of important scenes played out. Everyone who ever worked in tourism or marketing would instantly recognize an opportunity for city and destination branding. And so did Croatia.
I was not a fan of the show since I wasn’t even watching it. Therefore I can say I was blissfully ignorant. Until I went for a masters abroad and all of my friends, even from the other side of the world, were talking about going to Dubrovnik, which they referred to as Kings Landing. Then I called my good friend Google to the rescue and figured out that there are countless different types of Game of Thrones themed tours in Croatia. Besides that I started watching the show and my social life started fading. But that’s not the topic of this story.
Going back to the hero of the story – Dubrovnik, The Old Town emerged and was founded in the 7th century and today it is a UNESCO World Heritage site because it carries a lot of historical and cultural significance. It is an ancient city with amazing architecture and it is surrounded by Adriatic Sea on one side and magnificent walls on the other. All of these characteristics made it perfect site for filming the show.
There are numerous agencies and websites that are offering services and providing opportunities for visiting these sites. Dubrovnik has been branded as the capital and one of the most important sites of the show. Moreover pure example of extraordinary destination branding in Balkans. Taking into account worldwide audience, every summer brings more fans to Croatia. Those fans are offered everything from walking tours to local guides who connect the story of Dubrovnik to the story of Kings Landing. Dubrovnik was not the only city in Croatia that inspired the show, there are also Split, Trsteno, and many others. If you are interested in all locations and you want to plan a GoT tour yourself, RadioTimes.com created a useful list of all the locations of the show filmed in Croatia.
This is definitely an example of how good circumstances can be used for marketing and branding and how something that might seem trivial can represent long term success opportunity. In the end, if you find yourself traveling across Balkans or Mediterranean be sure not to miss Dubrovnik. Kings Landing or not, it is most certainly worth of adding to your traveling bucket list.
Credits for photos and videos go to YouTube and Brands&Films.