“Conservation” and co-creation through film tourism at heritage sites: an initial focus on Northern Ireland
An increasing number of film and television successes such as Game of Thrones and Dracula Untold have utilised heritage sites throughout Northern Ireland. This creates an opportunity for heritage sites to expand their traditional markets and to enhance the quality of the experience tourists have on site. This paper draws on the existing literature on heritage conservation, film tourism and co-creation and proposes a conceptual model with the aim of reconciling two very different markets that activate in the same space. A pilot study using an interpretive case study approach was used at three heritage tourism sites where films or television series had been filmed. Key findings revealed that both heritage site tourists and film tourists were interested in finding out the details regarding the filming that had taken place at each site, and wanted to be involved in related activities, as this was considered to enrich their experience whilst visiting. There is also a need for closer cooperation and communication between site management for a long-term, sustainable approach to film tourism, and for an overarching and comprehensive policy encompassing all relevant stakeholders.