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What is Film Tourism?

For the past 100 years, cinema has inspired, entertained, and emotionally roused audiences across the globe. Today, it is the second most engaged with art form—trailing just behind music.

The incredibly unique thing about cinema, though, is that many of the locations which grace the silver screen are in fact real, physical locations on earth. This is the basis of film tourism.

Defining Film Tourism

As these places exist in the real world, viewers don’t need to simply fantasise about being in the movies when they can literally visit the locations.

Thus, film tourism (often known as film-induced tourism) is described as “tourist visits to a destination or attraction as a result of the destination being featured on television, video, or the cinema screen.”

Examples of Film Tourism

One of the most cited examples of film tourism is the impact of The Lord of the Rings trilogy in drawing tourists to New Zealand. According to Tourism New Zealand, an average of 47,000 visitors each year visit a filming location, with 6% of visitors to the country citing The Lord of the Rings as their main or only reason for visiting the country.

Similarly, England’s Alnwick Castle—used for a number of iconic locations in the Harry Potter Series—experienced a 120% increase in visitors after the release of the wizarding films. 

But film tourism doesn’t always have to correlate directly to visiting a specific set or film location seen on screen. It also describes the desire for individuals to visit countries or locations to experience their suggested beauty. 

For example, you may be surprised to hear that the release of Frozen resulted in a 37% increase in tourism to Norway! While Braveheart sparked a 300% increase in tourism to Scotland in the year follow its release, while Troyinspired a similar occurrence, this time with an increase of 72%.

Regardless of how you look at it, seeing iconic, beautiful and amazing places on screen is definitely a driver of both local and international tourism. As such, we at Screen Destinations Rising support tourism boards and film commissions to establish the management and communication structures necessary to professionally map out film tourism campaigns.

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