For the past decade, Croatia experienced an increase in their tourism after they branded themselves as the home of ‘Westeros’, the fictional world of the popular HBO award winning medieval fantasy television show called Game of Thrones (Irimiás, Mitev & Michalkó, 2017). For this reason, tourism in Croatia is blooming with tourists visiting locations where all 8 seasons of the show were filmed. Although Game of Thrones was filmed in multiple cities including the US, Spain, Iceland, Ireland and Malta, Croatia, more specifically the city of Dubrovnik gained a lot of popularity because it depicts King’s Landing, the capital of the seven kingdoms in Game of Thrones (Tkalec, Zilic & Recher, 2017). Furthermore, in this day and time, guided tours are gaining more popularity and thus have come to play an important role in the tourism industry (Sandaruwani & Gnanapala, 2016). In this regard, they are seen as representative of a destination and therefore have the power to influence a tourist's perceived experience of a particular destination. Consequently, due to the limited research that has been done on the Dubrovnik setting to determine the part that tour guides play in shaping tourists' individual experiences when they go on a tour, this research aims to understand how tourists experience on-site guided tours of Game of Thrones filming locations in Dubrovnik. Moreover, by following the principles and procedures of grounded theory, the digital ethnography research method was used. Data concerned 100 TripAdvisor reviews, 10 YouTube videos with Game of Thrones filming locations related content, and 4 in-depth interviews with tourists who participated in a Game of Thrones tour in Dubrovnik. Data obtained was analyzed with the help of the qualitative software, Atlas.ti. Moreover, after thorough analysis in Atlas.ti, it was revealed that tourists experience on-site guided tours of Game of Thrones filming locations through three different perspectives that are interconnected and unique at the same time namely, the main character experience, the old town experience and the guide's value experience. These experiences highlighted the role of tour guides in shaping and creating a tourist overall experience during a tour as well as the tourist’s ability to link the fictional world of Westeros and the on-site location in Dubrovnik through an imaginative lens.

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Dr. Christian Ritter
Media & Creative Industries
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication

Shanira Hanst. (2022, June 27). Let’s Go to Westeros! A digital ethnography of Games of Thrones tourism in Dubrovnik. Media & Creative Industries. Retrieved from