The popular media of the day influences the appeal of travel destinations. In the past, media such as religion, literature, music and poetry were a major element determining travel, pilgrimage and holiday venues. Prior to the development of film and television, a mass audience really had access only to written works.
In the mid-20th century, film became the main mass media outlet and has been particularly effective in affecting tourism. (MacCannell, 1976, ch1, pg4) The latter part of the century saw the rise of television, which has had an even greater impact on pleasure travel and film induced tourism, which is now often heavily influenced by directional or destination marketing.
Various tourism and film authorities have developed movie maps in order to exploit more fully the associations that their region has with a popular film, movie or television series. (ch1, pg7) Thereby creating the holidays known as a location vacations.
The Hawaiian Tourism Authority, in its first-ever Strategic Tourism Plan, has identified the role of encouraging filming in the state as one of its key tourism strategies. (Hawaiian Tourism Authority 1999, ch1/pg8)
TV viewing is probably the greatest single domestic pastime. (Schofield 1996, ch1/pg8)
Film and television are pervasive educators and persuaders, even when they are entertaining. The theory is that many tourists tend to experience the world through a series of framed images, the screen is yet another frame through which tourists vicariously experience a destination. Through its image-creating potential, film can also provide strong motivation to actually visit the places seen in the production. (Schofield 1996, ch1/pg9)
Major one-time or recurring events of limited duration developed to primarily enhance the awareness, appeal and profitability of a destination in the short and/ or long term. These are sometimes called hallmark events. These events rely for their success on uniqueness, status, or timely significance to create interest and attract attention. (J.R. Brent Ritchie 1992, ch1/pg9) Film/TV "festivals" linked to a particular zone or area may well attract tourists as well as the representatives and enthusiasts of the movie trade in general.
Film is rarely consumed at the original location, but visitors often feel the need to visit the destination used. (Riley & Van Doren 1992, ch1/pg 9)
Characteristics of film tourism
Film tourism is travel motivator, a film site is an attraction in its own right with a strong motivation for visitation.
Film tourism holidays are being increasingly promoted, and visiting film locations is a key element in many activity holidays. Film tourism pilgrimage, visiting sites of film locations to pay homage to the film stars and sometimes even possibly re-enacting elements of the original work. (ch1/ table 1.1/ pg10). Very few, if any, towns, cities or countries take advantage of FIT's power by offering films based on local, regional or national locations, in their festival offerings.
Gruman's Chinese Theater attracts visitors from all over the world by a series of concrete handprints of the famous set in the pavement/sidewalk.
Cousins and Andereck see the recognition of a movie as a hallmark event to be central to maximising its tourism benefits. They took two movie examples, one that was not seen as a hallmark event by the associated tourism agencies (Bull Drummond) and another that was (the Last of the Mohicans). (C&A 1003 ch1/pg11) and examined the effect on tourist numbers.
For example, the UK series "Last of the Summer Wine" has been screened on British Television for over 28 years (Kirkless Economic Development Service, c2001) ch1/pg12, resulting in a steady stream of tourists to the town and surrounding area.
Arezzo, in Tuscany, Italy has location tours based on Begnini's film Life is Beautiful, Sienna hosted Tea With Mussolini and Asissi, a variety of films based on the life of St Francis, including the popular Brother Sun, Sister Moon.
TV series tend to have more long-term impact than a movie because of the repetitive nature of the programmes, unless the film proves enormously popular. (ch1/pg12) See Harry Potter locations, and New Zealand's association with Middle Earth, Lord of the Rings and Hobbits.
A report in the Daly Mail of April 2010 suggests that the local Lake District authority are proposing to charge the Japanese, and only them, a £5.00 surcharge when they visit the area.However some local businesses fear that seeking to extract more money out of only Japanese tourists - who already spend nearly £700-per-head on average while in Britain - could risk alienating a key market. Perhaps attempting to take more advantage than is justified regarding the Beatrix Potter film made in the area.
The possibility of experiencing the story in the movie through one's personal knowledge of the landscape is a powerful magnet. (EB ch1/pg17)
That moment on film is powerful enough to evoke the entire holiday. (SB ch1/pg17)
The study of film-induced tourism is complex, incorporating aspects of disciplines such as sociology and psychology, as well as industry-based sectors, from film making through to destination marketing, community development and strategic planning. Consequently, this is an untapped and little understood field of tourism research. (SB ch1/pg17) But it works!
The small town of Brescello, in Italy, the home of the the Don Camillo series of films benefits from some 30,000 tourists a year, supports two excellent film museums, three good, modern, hotels and a dozen bars, cafés, restaurants and ice-cream shops, and all on the strength of five films made fifty years ago.
The very nature of tourism lends itself to participant observation research methodologies, and there are times when objective assessment or study of film sites became impossible, such as the visit to Doune Castle in Scotland, the site for Monty Python and the Holy Grail, where Monty Python was at its peak in the mid-70's, one either "got it" and was an obsessive fan, or didn't. The bizarre humour left no middle ground, I was one of those who "got it" spending too many hours at university listening to Monty Python tapes while reading Phantom comics. So, a visit to the site of the movie so many years later was a pilgrimage, and I was immersed in the experience. This does not make the study of Doune Castle any less relevant than if another research methodology had been used. (SB ch1/pg18)
ReelStreets.com is now starting to create a series of FIT links, offering free pages on their website to location aware tourist authorities etc., which can be themed to take advantage of FIT pounds/euro/dollars?
The effect of film on tourist behaviour is acknowledged, is known to work but as yet is little understood or fully exploited. (ch2/pg20)
Future pilgrimages to film sites are an important aspect which often affects the decisions of local authorities with regard to location filming. Grants or subsidies are often used as inducements to the film-maker, but only rarely is a follow-up made by the local tourist authority or chamber of commerce, to build on the possibilities created by the movie. Destination marketing is an increasingly powerful weapon in the tourist office's armoury, but as yet imperfectly understood.
James Herriot (author of All Creatures Great and Small), the British Tourist Authority, and "Take the High Road", plus the Scottish Association of Tourism Officers, suggest that the effect of film-induced tourism may be sufficient to warrant tourist destinations actively encouraging film producers as a formal policy. (Tooke & Baker 1996, ch2/pg20)
In an English Tourism Council publication on developing tourism, the Head of Borough Liaison at the London Film Commission, Harvey Edgington, advised that if a film office exists in an area, all tourism intermediaries, locations, even a scuzzy housing estate, are of interest. (English Tourism Council 2000, ch2/pg20)
VisitScotland and Scottish Screen have developed a brochure , Mansion Locations in Scotland, covering 64 potential film locations in the country, supplementing a database of over 500 houses available. (Scotish Executive 2002, ch2/pg21)
Scottish Screen, VisitScotland, The British Council and the Highlands and Islands Film commission have produced a further publication, The Pocket Scottish Movie Book. (Scottish Executive 2002, ch2/pg21)
Film producers should consider approaching local authorities, with suitable locations, for financial investment. It has certainly been recognised that the value of promotional advertising provided by some films would be out of the price range of tourism offices. (T&B 1996, ch2/pg21) The "free ink" generated by a film being made in one's area could never be paid for out of the local tourist office budget, and now there is not only "free ink" available but also free kilobytes on this site. www.reelstreets.com
The script required a farm with .... "a sea of corn as far as the eye can see", and specified Iowa. However, Illinois wanted the economic benefits of filming (which came to $US 21m in local economic benefits and 183 full-time jobs, apart from the add-ons of continued and increased tourism) (Economist, 1998, ch2/pg21
The locations need not be beautiful nor the storylines positive in order to attract visitors. Rayburn County in California, where Deliverance was filmed is one example. It has been estimated that the area sees an additional 20,000 tourists per annum, with a gross revenue between $US2 and $US3 million, as a direct result of the film being made there. (Riley1998, ch2/pg24
The film "Titanic", has benefited the burgeoning cruise industry by reference to a movie about the sinking of the most famous passenger ship of all time. (inside Tucson Business 1998, ch2/pg25)
The relationship of the setting with the storyline is crucial to the magnitude of its touristic attraction. The basic issue is whether the setting must be in the foreground of the story to truly leave an impression on the viewer's mind. (Cohen 1986, ch2/pg25)
Culture is produced through shared meanings that can be represented by a variety of modern media, including film. Such representations and meanings can be made to perform specific destination marketing roles by creating a desire in the viewer to experience the place in a less vicarious form, by visiting the site of the film. (Hall 1997, ch2/pg25)
Film as a Destination Marketing Tool
Destination Marketing Organisations (DMO's)
The Sound of Music, Salzburg, Austria, (Im et al.1999) found that over half of the respondents (who were on a "Sound of Music Tour") cited the movie as creating the desire to visit the film locations and therefore the city. (ch2/pg27)
Many destinations are now working to become "film friendly" and have taken a proactive stance towards encouraging filming, by developing relationships with the major film studios, international and local PR companies and advertising agencies. Often, film is considered 'free footage', in similar terms to 'free ink', or editorial coverage, and that such free footage has a higher credibility than a tourism body promotion. (Roger Grant 2001, ch2/pg28)
Because of their association with fame, buildings and streets that were formerly considered commonplace and ordinary suddenly acquire interest, status and ambience. Lower Mall, Hammersmith will fall into this category with the filming of Cinema of Darkness.
Past locations can be an all-year, all-weather attraction, with wide socio-economic appeal and benefit. (Schofield 1996, ch2/pg29)
The website www.reelstreets.com currently has on-line almost 400 feature films where "then" location shot are compared with "now" photos, some 12,000 in all.
The Scottish Toursim Board (STB) and the film Braveheart, about Rob Roy and a recent statue of Braveheart with Mel Gibson's face, is now a tourist attraction! It has been found that visitors were coming to Scotland to visit the places depicted in the movie 'Braveheart, even though most of it was filmed in Ireland. (Seaton & Hay 1998, ch2/pg31
Tom Kershaw, the owner of the Bull and Finch Hotel in Boston, had his hotel used as the site of the bar in the long-running television series "Cheers", and in 1994 he was appointed by President Clinton to the US Travel and Tourism Administration's advisory board (Neale 1194). The direct economic benefits of "Cheers" that Kershaw has realised include around 500,000 visitors to his pub per annum, an annual food and beverage turnover of US$6m and "Cheers" merchandizing sales of around US$7m. (SB, ch2/pg29)
TAM the major Brasilian airline now organises 3-hour tours of the "Sex and the City" TV series sites in New York. They are the first major company that appear o have understood the financial benefits of FIT
The Cult of Celebrity
Fascination with the famous and infamous in not new - Tourism itself has been based around visiting famous (or sacred) sites since it first appeared in the form of the pilgrimages of the 11th century and the Grand Tours of the 18th century. (Leiper 2002, ch2/pg32)
The worship of movie stars fills a psychological, or even spiritual, need in a century where religion is declining. (Collins 1987, ch2/pg32)
Famous names do not merely add status to all they touch, argues Powers - they can also add 'content' to light media stories. Celebrity is the enemy of content. (Powers 2001, ch2/pg33)
Numerous researchers consider tourism to have elements of a religious pilgrimage. (SB, ch2/pg34)
Film-induced tourism has strong overtones of pilgrimage, with the tourist travelling to sites considered sacred through their connection with fame and the notions of fantasy. Film tourists collect memorabilia of places, actors and characters, taking them home, along with stories of fame, that raise the traveller up in the view of their peers. Tourists, like pilgrims, often mix a serious quest with recreation, play and fun. (Cohen 200, ch2/pg35)
The significant relationships that have been introduced, such as that between film offices and production companies and tourism offices and businesses, is central to any consideration of film-induced tourism. (SB ch2/pg39)
Film Image and Destination Marketing
The part that literary tourism played in literature has been developed to encompass film. Conceptual movie maps and places have become products that must be strategically designed and marketed, and those that fail face the risk of economic decline. (Kotler 1993, ch3/pg43)
Destination marketing has been designed to attract tourism expenditure, to generate tourism employment, to provide positive images for potential investors and to attract professional workers to the area used in the film. (Hall 1995, ch3/pg44)
The image of a destination has been shown to be a significant tourist motivator, playing an important role in travel decision-making. It is also well documented and accepted that increased tourism affects a wide range of businesses, from transport and accommodation to suppliers of products and services, as well as the tourism businesses themselves. (SB ch3/pg45)
Most consumers decided on a destination after considering three to five options, demonstrating the importance of a powerful destination image and marketing process. (Weaver & Oppermann 2000, ch3/pg47)
It is probably the image more than the factual information that influences a tourist's decision on where to travel. (LaPage & Cormier 1977, ch3/pg50). These images are represented most powerfully through the medium of film and television.
The perception of potential visitors, has a high emotional value and is of great value to FIT, which tends to rely on, and emphasise, an emotional response on visitors. (Tapachi & Waryszak 2000, ch3/pg51)
Film tourists visit the sites portrayed, and the influence of the movie has become so pervasive that it outstrips that of literature. Film is to literary tourism what the Boeing 747 was to mainstream tourism - a major booster for mass tourism. (Busby & Klug 2001, ch3/pg53)
The popularity and use of film and television have grown rapidly as the influence of movies, videos, DVD's and television is becoming even more important and pervasive. (SB, ch3/pg53
Once again, visual media are considered to be the most powerful image-creators, and include the motivations of pilgrimages, nostalgia and programmes. (Riley & Van Doren 1992, ch3/pg55)
The New Zealand government appointed a so-called 'Minister of the Rings' to leverage the international profile of the country through the publicity brought by The Lord of the Rings movies. The minister worked with the government tourism, trade and film commissions in order to achieve this, and more than $NZ6m over three years was allocated to the task (New Zealand Herald, 2001, ch3/pg57). The resulting influx of tourists was, and continues to be, considerable.
Consumers are increasingly following special interests and regard their trips as both recreational and educational experiences. Therefore destination themes will become more important for the future. (Buhalis 2000, ch3/pg58)
The Wallace Monument was not an economically successful tourist attraction. It was not until the 1995 release of the Hollywood blockbuster 'Braveheart' that the monument took on true iconic tourism status and turned a profit. Notwithstanding the fact that much of the movie was filmed in Ireland and other parts of Scotland and none of it was filmed anywhere near Stirling. Visitor numbers to the National Wallace Monument increased immediately after the release of the film, by up to three-fold. (Argyll et al 2001, ch3/pg58)
A study by the Stirling Council found that the films were influential in exerting a greater influence on trip decisions once overseas visitors were already in Scotland. (System Three 1997, ch3/pg60)
Mount Airy is typical in that it had experienced flagging economic fortunes, with a downtown that had dried up, the town attempted to revive its flagging economy by assuming the identity of an idealised media representation. Mount Airy promotes itself as 'the real Mayberry', The Andy Griffith Show, even though the programme was written and first screened in the later 1960's, is still being shown in the US on free-to-air TV, and the town has been able to ride on its back for over 40 years. Mount Airy is doing its best to imitate an imitation of itself and become America's official make-believe town. (Brown 1997, ch3/pg61)
Movie Maps and Guidebooks as Significant Destination Marketing Tools
A Movie Map of Australia in 1996. (Denise Corrigan, ch3/pg62)
In the week after the release in 2001 of the first Lord of the Rings movie, The Fellowship of the Ring, the number of visitors to the Tourism of New Zealand website doubled. The Lord of the Rings trilogy , through the destination work that has been done, will be a major driver for visitors to this country (NZ) from some of our most important markets. (Tourism New Zealand 2001, ch3/pg63
And there now is no reason, with Google Earth, why your town could not publish on-line maps of the film locations made in your vicinity. Load them freely onto www.reelstreets.com.
Film and Place Promotion
Tourist visitation to the village of Goathland, of 450 residents, has soared from a steady 200,000 before 1991, to more than 1.2 million. The TV series Heartbeat is considered to be the primary reason for such a dramatic increase. (Mordue 2001, ch4/pg76)
The (NZ Tourism) minister's remit was to maximise the benefits from the trilogy for the entire country, both in terms of filming employment and film-induced tourism. For a country the size of New Zealand (populations 3.9 million), the resources committed to leveraging the effect of The Lord of the Rings is unprecedented. (New Zealand Herald 2001, ch4/pg81)
What value do we give to increased pride and its associated flow-on effects? Visitors to cities, towns, regions and sites where the residents are proud of what has been filmed, have reportedly far higher levels of satisfaction with their experience, which in turn increases the community's pride. (SB, ch4/pg85)
Film-induced tourism can be used to support (or even develop) the community's vision for the region, to broaden the visitor base and to even-out seasonal peaks and troughs. (SB ch4/pg 90)
In this era, festivals, ones based on the TV series movie/s in the region could reaffirm the community's vision, as well as bring visitors in, in off-peak times. (SB, ch4/pg90)
Another possibility is to encourage visitation by providing a tangible representation of the movies, such as the Braveheart statue in Stirling. While this may sound far fetched, such a representation provides a focal point for visitors and can move them to (and keep them in) a specific area. (SB ch4/pg91) Brescello has two bronze statues, one of Don Camillo and another of the Mayor, "Peppone", in the town square.
A less intrusive form of tangible representations and one that appears to be extremely successful, is the publication of guide books extensively covering filmed locations. Many film tourism sites are not on any current tourist trails, and it is often the independent traveller, or the enthusiastic promoters of specialised film location web-sites, who seeks them out. (SB ch4/pg91)
FIT attracts tourism expenditure, it therefore generates tourism-related employment, it thereby provides positive images for potential investors and also attracts professional workers to the area. (Hall 1995, ch3/pg44)
Effects on Tourism
Film induced visitors tend to come from further afield than the regular tourists, indicating a broadening of the visitor market due to a television series or a popular film. (SB ch5/pg98)
From Village by the Sea to Pearl Bay
In 1998 there were vacant shops and others in the process of closing down, but as of January 2000 all the shops were occupied with the main shopping precinct boasting a predominance of tourist services. Real Estate values have increased dramatically. On a winter's day, the town was alive with people partaking of the café culture. Put on the map, more people are stopping in the town rather than just passing through (or bypassing it). (SB ch5/pg 98)
The Strategic Business Plan of 1993, was a Regional Tourism Development Plan for the regional tourism bodies, and the target was high-yield market segments. (Tourism Victoria 1993, ch5/pg99) Tourism bodies remain focused on the high-yield sectors of the tourism industry. (SB ch5/pg101) And FIT is a significant segment of this market.
The refreshing approach taken by the regional tourist board in realising that the tourism appeal of Calendar Girls will help tourism. This film is going to have a dramatic impact on tourism in Yorkshire. (YTB 2003, ch5/pg104)
All those interviewed believed that it, the TV series, (Pearl Bay), had an effect on the town with an increase in the number, and quality, of shops and an increase in year-round visitation. (SB ch5/pg109)
Many visitors are interested in taking tours in a less traditional way in order to see the town's locations and this appeals to independent travellers who are not interested in a ´'normal' tour with bored tour guides narrating the same facts and figures. (Blau, ch5/pg110)
They, the visitor, can now return home, ´knowing how its done and brag about possessing an insiders knowledge'. (Touchin 2003, ch5/pg112)
New Zealand claims to have experienced an increase in international tourism as a direct result of the movies. (SB ch5/pg112)
Some 72% of current international visitors had seen at least one of the first two Lord of the Rings movies, as had 75% of so-called 'potential visitors' (those visiting the Tourism New Zealand website ) a large majority to both groups were aware that the movies were filmed in New Zealand. On the effect of the movies on tourism, 9200 international tourists a year could be expected to visit over the next three years, spending $NZ5 million annually (NFO New Zealand 2003 ch5/pg113)
One indicator of the economic benefits from media exposure of a place (often referred to as 'free ink') such as through movies, is the value of that exposure in terms of its costs if it had been done through commercial advertising. (SB ch5/pg113) The media exposure on this site www.reelstreets.com will provide free kilobytes 24/7.
Effects on Community
FIT benefits: Relationships with tourists / Employment in tourism offers more opportunities for women / Improves quality of life through infrastructure development / Cultural exchange/ increased understanding and tolerance / Increased social interaction increases communication skills / Arts, crafts and local culture revitalised. (Table 6.1 Social Impact, ch6/pg120)
The Heartbeat series was screened from April to June 1992, with some 13.5 million viewers. At that time (1991) annual visitation to Goathland was estimated at 320,000 (Breakell 1996, ch6/pg 130)
The filming of the second series, began in October 1992 and by October 1993, visitation had reached 480,000 per annum. The fourth series was screened on TV in September 1994, and by December 1995 the number of visitors had increased to 1.19 million, the growth has been exponential. (Breakell 1996, ch6/pg133)
The initial effects are certainly positive and are reflected in the tremendous boost to the country's pride. (LOTR, SB, ch6/pg139)
FIT and Community Planning
Last of the Summer Wine has been influential for more than 30 years, and the Western movie, Shane, still resonates with visitors to Wyoming, some 40 years on. (Lazarus 1999, ch7/pg153)
Longevity of many these series or interest in the movies (up to 30/40/50 years) provides the opportunity to consider the long-term effects of FIT. (SB ch7/pg157)
From Themed Events to Film Studios
The concept of on-location film-induced tourism may have been recognised from the early days of movies with visits to sites such as Monument Valley (the striking backdrop in Stagecoach in 1935, staring John Wayne) (SB ch8/pg185)
The demonstrated interest in, and power of, film-induced tourism (SB ch9/pg212)
A study of general managers from over 100 theme parks, found that they saw movies and TV shows as the third-highest ranking theme for future theme parks and attractions, out of a list of 16 significant themes. (Milman 2001, ch9/pg224)
Film studio theme parks are growing in their numbers, size and complexity. (SB ch9/pg225)
The Last Samurai was filmed in New Zealand, and visits to the movie sites have been incorporated into some tour companies' itineraries. (SB ch10/pg232)
By recognising the potential benefits of on-location film-induced tourism, a community has the potential to use the benefits to strengthen itself. Community planning models must consider film-induced tourism as a component of the tourism aspects of a community.
Viewing a television series or movie takes on additional elements once the sites, sets and studios have been visited. For many it appears that having knowledge of the process imbues that person with some cultural cachet and the person becomes an "insider". (SB ch10/pg235)
Destination Marketing and Film
The imaging potential of FIT is not restricted to rural areas. London Film Commission, have even gone so far as to suggest that even a scuzzy housing estate is of interest' to film-makers. The TV series Taggart exploits some of Glasgow's poorer districts. (English Tourism Council 2000, ch10/pg236)
There is certainly a case to argue that film-induced tourism may have an effect as long as, if not longer than, most other destination promotion / imaging exercises. (SB ch10/pg237) And Vienna has been "dining out" on the Third Man for 60 years!!
One area of particular emerging interest is that of 'toddler tourism' and junior FIT. Preschool-age children have remarkable power and influence over family travel decisions. Balamory, a TV show has become a primary motivator for families with pre-school children to visit the Isle of Mull. Visitor expectations and activities (of parents and toddlers) may be quite different from those of other film-induced tourists, yet Connell has found that there has been a significant increase in such tourism to the Isle of Mull, requiring consideration of yet another element of FIT.(Connell ch10/pg238)
For example, the Panorama of Gorge Railway, filmed 1903, did much to introduce the images of the Niagara region to a new audience, many of whom would desire to visit and travel that same railway. (Verhoeff & Warth 2002 ch10/pg239)
Bollywood Indian sagas sell over 800 million cinema tickets annually and most of the locations used by Bollywood are iconic tourism sites. (CNN 2001 ch10/pg241) The increasingly wealthy Indian middle classes will certainly be visiting film locations.
Locations such as castles and stately homes feature in many of the 150 Bollywood productions filmed in UK. Switzerland Tourism also launched a Bollywood Guide, Switzerland for the Movie Stars. The Bollywood film and tourism phenomenon indicates, with some 5 million middle-class Indians, that the market potential is enormous. (SB ch10/pg242)
"Deliverance, that's why we're here" said one of the actors, and 38 years have passed since the 1972 release of this Academy-Award nominated film, and 38 years of whitewater tour groups on the River Chattooga have profited off the back of the film. Stunt double Payson Kennedy's Nantahala Outdoor Center which has rafting expeditions on both the Chattooga and Nantahala rivers, reports income of $15 million per year, with 600 part time employees, and 200,000 annual visitors.
Whether they be real-life documentaries or the fantasies of fictional tales, films have always been a way for audiences to encounter other places. The future of film as a major form of entertainment, and increasing levels of tourism have come together to form a new tourism segment, that of film induced tourism. (SB ch10/pg244)
If can be argued that changes precipitated by political events are occurring far more rapidly than changes in fashion and taste. Consequently, filmic images, and emotions, may well remain relevant for a far longer time than any other form. (SB ch10/pg245)
Movies are a non-sales form of communication that allows discovery of the location, as opposed to the hard
sell of advertising. (Riley and Van Doren p. 922)
Take full advantage of the opportunities offered on this site to promote your films, your enthusiasms and your area.
Copyright John Tunstill 25 11 2010
Graham Busby & Julia Klug