The last two seasons of Game of Thrones film production has pumped a lot of money into the Spanish economy, and the nation’s government wants the show to keep coming back. The Spain Film Commission (CFS) is creating la Red Espańola de Territorios Juego de Tronos (Spanish Network of Game of Thrones Territories, or Red GOT), a group armed with a newly legislated 15% tax incentive and tasked with keeping Game of Thrones production in Spain, while also wooing more foreign film producers and tourists. Spain’s grand landscapes, ancient cities, and castles have long been a favorite shooting location for epic movies (e.g. Lawrence of Arabia, Cleopatra), and Red GOT wants to make sure that tradition continues.
The CFS unveiled its plans and goals for the Territories Committee at a meeting last Friday in Tudela (Navarra), close to the Bardenas Reales, which will stand in for the Dothraki Sea in Season 6. Carlos Rosado, the President of the CFS, discussed the recent implementation of tax incentives the Spanish government now offers to incoming production companies. Game of Thrones originally elected to shoot parts of Season 5 in Spain when no tax incentives were offered, and production has proved a boon for the Spanish economy, especially in many of the rural regions where filming often takes place.
The discussion often turned to other countries that have had success in provided tax incentives for film production, and specifically for Game of Thrones. Northern Ireland initially offered 6.05 million pounds in tax breaks for the first two seasons of Thrones—this deal has continued into the present, and currently represents a total of 12.45 million pounds worth of government investment. In return, Thrones production has spent 110 million pounds in Northern Ireland, not mention all the tourist dollars the production has brought in.
Croatia is another country that has benefited greatly from its relationship with Game of Thrones. Dubrovnik, which has long stood in for King’s Landing, has seen a huge bump in tourism, which the city has taken advantage of with numerous guided walking tours and tourist facilities. Croatia provides tax incentives for foreign film companies, and in June 2015, the Croatian Audiovisual Centre (HAVC) revealed in its annual report that expenditures in Croatia from international film productions has almost quadrupled.
Filming in Spain for Season 5 (before the tax incentives kicked in) brought in more than 7 million euros into the local economies, which the city of Osuna (where the production filmed the scene at Daznak’s Pit) has seen a 50% bump in tourist activity. Guided tours have popped up everywhere, ready to feed fans’ desires to visit the real locations where their favorite stories take place.
Here are the key objectives of Red GOT as stated at the meeting:
- Encourage and boost collaborative projects between the municipalities of the Network, national and EU and facilitate networking and collaboration with HBO in new filming of the series.
- Create a list of territories that have been and will be filming locations for Game of Thrones. The initiative will be supported by all technical communications resources so it can be used as soon as possible by all stakeholders in the series in collaboration with HBO.
- Work with regional institutions and the state to carry out projects, develop a protocol operation, and create a rotating presidency.
- Engaging in international market events such as the American Film Market, European Film Market in Berlin, and Marché du Film in Cannes
- Facilitate direct dialogue with HBO to overcome any problems and provide solutions for all production location issues.
The next meeting of Red GOT is planned to take place in Osuna, and the Spanish hope their new program will convince HBO to continue shooting the show in Spain.