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The effect of film industry on tourism: Game of Thrones and Dubrovnik

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International Journal of Tourism Research

Published online on


Nowadays, there is competition in attracting film producers to screen their productions in specific locations, but at the same time, there is also a lack of data‐driven academic research that measures the effects of film industry on local tourism. This study evaluates the effects of 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. 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.