A Look at Film Tourism

We have experienced the world through the medium of film since the inception of film itself. Whether it is a fascination with the American West from watching John Ford films or dreaming of recreating the romance of La Dolce Vita or Three Coins in the Fountain at the Fountain of Trevi in Rome, film evokes emotional reactions to “place.” Just as the viewing public creates emotional attachments to characters as well as the actors that play those characters, they also become enamored with the “place” where their favorite story enfolds.

Many would argue that film is the most powerful suggestive medium in existence and that there are any number of variations and experiences film and television viewers will be craving in the decades to come.

Every country, region, state, province, city, town has or can have an image – a branded identity, a personality – and that image has an economic value. Film not only offers worldwide exposure to a location, it can create the branding of a locale. In either case, locations depicted in popular films and television series are the ultimate product placement.

Film Tourism is already expanding beyond its most typical and organic forms, creating even more opportunities for film commissions, tourism departments, tour operators and destination marketing organizations, worldwide.

Here are some variations on Film Tourism:

• A location where a movie or television show was filmed.
• A location where a film or television show’s story was based. For example, the popular TV series, “Cheers” was shot on a stage in Los Angeles, but the real-life bar in Boston on which the show was based sees thousands of visitors each year despite the fact that the TV series ended 20 years earlier.
• A location where a movie or TV show was filmed but that was doubling for another place altogether.
• An experience that is the basis for a film or television show. For example, following the filming of “City Slickers” in New Mexico – a story about middle-class men embarking on a “manly” adventure by participating on a cattle drive – an interest in Dude Ranch experiences exponentially increased tourism to the US’s Southwest over the next decade.
• The locations of a story through its literary and film references. For example, the “Millenium Tour” in Stockholm, Sweden includes the hotel, coffee shop, and other locations where the main characters spent time.