In the ever-changing, fast-paced world of television and cinema, film crews are always looking for the next best and beautiful destination to create their masterpieces. These destinations, no matter how remote or desolate, can forever be changed by a single scene in a popular movie or television show. Binge-watchers will flock to these locations for the perfect photo opportunity that will forever capture their devotion to their favorite on-screen stories. According to Trip Advisor, one in five global travelers visited a location because they saw it on television.
You know that feeling when you have to fork out what seems like an entire paycheck just to treat your family to a movie in theaters? Now imagine travelers draining their savings accounts on a trip across the country, or even the world, to relive moments from television. Netflix conducted a Cultural Affinity survey with subscribers from Canada, Germany, the U.S., the UK, Brazil, and France, which found that South African movies and television shows could drive tourism to the location. In fact, after watching South African content, travelers were 3.1 times more likely to add the destination to the top of their bucket list.
Here are a few of the series and movies that have people hopping on a plane to experience in person:
This 2020 mystery series was filmed in the East Coast barrier islands. Before the show aired, the area was mostly known for its well-rooted commercial fishing heritage – that didn’t stop fans from booking a flight to see the harbor town for themselves. With the second season premiering July 2021, Google Trends reports a 270% increase in search popularity from January 2021 to the present, meaning the town’s tourism could also see significant growth once more.
With so many binge-watchers in 2020, this romance series took Netflix by storm quickly after its release. Filmed in the picturesque city of Bath and around the rest of the UK, the show had viewers swooning over the greenery, cobblestone streets, and Elizabethan castles. Popular in both the U.S. and the UK, fans are now gathering in Bridgerton filming locations — like High Tea at The Rubens at the Palace, London's oldest candle-lit wine bar, a tour of Grade I-listed Hampton Court Palace, and more.
“The Bachelor Effect” is a term used to describe a surge in tourism to a destination after an episode of the hit romantic reality show was filmed there. Karolin Troubetzkoy, a rep for the luxurious Jade Mountain resort in St. Lucia, said “We were chosen for the final rose proposal not only once, but four times. After the first Bachelor aired, the entire destination saw a thrust in bookings. We also saw a surge in visits to our hotel’s website.”
“Poldark” is a British historical drama series filmed in Cornwall, England. Since it first hit screens in 2015, “Poldark” has increased tourism to the area and spawned a huge boost for Cornwall’s economy. The industry predicts to see continued growth in visitors for years to come.
“Crazy Rich Asians”
It’s no doubt that this movie was turning heads before it even premiered due to its playful name, but this 2018 romantic comedy really left an impression on one of the main destinations where filming took place — Singapore. After overwhelming success in the box offices, the movie inspired travel searches for Singapore to skyrocket, all due to scenes that depicted the glitz and glamour of the city. Searches for Singapore increased a whopping 110%, while inquiries spiked 41% compared to the previous year.
According to the Derry Journal, the hit comedy “Derry Girls” sparked a tourism boom in the area of Northern Ireland. The family-centered, coming-of-age story follows 16-year-olds as they grow up in Land Rovers in the 1990s — surrounded by police and British Army checkpoints. Manager Odhran Dunne of Visit Derry told the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee that the sitcom had driven footfall to the city, which has since encouraged them to use the big screen to support the seasonality of tourism.
Don’t Be Camera Shy
There is more than one way to lure Hollywood to your hometown. Visit Florida is a destination marketing organization (DMO) that got the attention of the lights, camera, and action by creating a scripted TV show called “Life's Rewards". The Sunscreen Film Festival award-winning show, which was also a topic in a recent episode of the Layover Live, tells the story of the privileged son of a high-profile wealth manager who waged everything on a big gamble and lost.
Visit Florida has deemed the show “an entertaining new way to explore St. Pete/Clearwater and discover more fun experiences.” Their website even draws in travelers by claiming, “The locations in and around St. Pete/Clearwater are vital characters in the first-of-its-kind Life’s Rewards TV series, and you’ll want to visit these places again and again.”
If a DMO’s location is accessible and welcoming, has a unique history, and above all, has drop-dead gorgeous scenery, it could very well be a contender for production. Curious to know if your DMO is in a Hollywood hotspot? Check out the 20 Most Popular Cities For Filming Movies — you might be closer to the action than you think.
Whether your destination makes it to the big screen or not, it's important to note the significant influence that television and cinema have on the tourism industry. Box office success can directly correlate with a surge in a destination’s tourism. Never shy away from a camera crew — it could mean years of increased interest in your destination.