Available Research and Success Stories

While research around Film Tourism is relatively new, there is a pool of literature and even international conferences that focus on the subject.

According to Visit Britain, 40 percent of potential visitors would be “very likely” to visit locations seen in films with locations featured in The Da Vinci Code being among the most popular. For example, after the film’s release, Temple Church in London saw visitor numbers increase fivefold and Rosslyn Chapel’s visitor numbers have doubled every year.

They also report that Alnwick Castle, the location for Hogwarts, saw a 120% rise in visitor numbers following the release of Harry Potter. The films are estimated to have brought in £9 million in tourist revenue to the area. The trend was mirrored in other locations used in the film: Gloucester Cathedral’s visitor numbers rose by 50% following the release of the first of the Harry Potter films.

The annual tourist influx to New Zealand jumped from 1.7 million in 2000 to 2.4 million in 2006, a 40 percent increase due mainly to the “Rings” phenomenon. Authorities with Tourism New Zealand acknowledge that Lord of the Rings was the best unpaid advertisement that New Zealand has ever had. In the past decade, New Zealand is the country that has benefited most from movie tourism as the number of case studies has demonstrated. The promotional effect of the film in terms of audience exposure was estimated at US $41 million. The film has acted as a catalyst for destination tourism and has reduced the perceived risk associated with New Zealand as a destination. Smart destination marketers have actively adopted the magical images in the film.

Again in 2012/2013, New Zealand was able to capitalize on this image when The Hobbit was released. In 2013, New Zealand launched its “100% Middle Earth” Campaign. The goal of the campaign was to demonstrate how easy it is for people to come to New Zealand, see Middle-earth firsthand and experience all the country has to offer. In initial research, they have shown that over 78% of surveyed potential visitors say that the campaign makes them even more inspired to visit the country.

Other examples include:

Over 60,000 people a year continue to visit Dyersville, Iowa (population 4000), home to the Field of Dreams farm and baseball diamond. The Dyersville Chamber of Commerce has seen millions of people come to the town, from casual baseball fans to couples seeking to be wed among the corn.

The café where J.K. Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book continues to receive as many as 10 visitors a day asking to see where she sat, whilst London’s King’s Cross station erected a plaque marking ‘Platform 9 3/4’ in response to visitor demand.

Bend it like Beckham raised the profile of the UK in the Far East. It was the first commercial Western film to be shown in North Korea and in China it changed the perception of Britain. The film also prompted a surge of interest in women’s football including the founding of the first women’s football league in India.

Preston, Idaho, began holding the Napoleon Dynamite Festival with dance contests and tetherball games paying homage to key movie scenes. The town’s website sold T-shirts and tote bags, and the Idaho legislature commended local filmmakers Jared and Jerusha Hess “for showcasing the positive aspects of Idaho’s youth, rural culture, education system, athletics, economic prosperity, and diversity.”

This YouTube video from Stockholm talks about the Millennium Effect and the impact it has had on Stockholm and the surrounding area.