Viability as a Tourism Vehicle

Each film or television series is unique and has unique potentials for possible tourism options. A film commissioner should take the time to really explore if any possibilities are present. Does the product have a natural or likely tourism connection? Is there a unique angle to be explored?

While there is a subjective aspect to this type of evaluation, some factors are obvious.

• A film with memorable characters, high-profile stars, and/or a romantic or heroic element.
• A film or television program that is critically acclaimed. An Oscar-winning film will inherently be branded as having importance, value, the longevity of popularity, and at times a “life of its own.”
• A story so compelling that the film fan can see the movie over and over again, or in the case of a popular television series, has an ongoing attachment to the program. This lends itself to the type of psychological attachment to the film, its characters and locations that may lead to a successful film tourism campaign.
• A popular film where the location is a “character in the film.”
• A locale where there is an abundance of a particular movie genre – film noir, action, romance, etc – that can lead to a collective tour of a number of films and film sites.

While the Sound of Music may be the pent-ultimate film tourism example – to this day drawing thousands of visitors – the stereotypical feel-good film as a film tourism vehicle has certainly been challenged in recent years. Tours of the Mumbai slums following the hit film Slumdog Millionaire and the Millenium Trilogy Tours, based on the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and its sequels (very edgy, violent material) are just two examples of what some would call the popularity of “Dark Tourism.”

Once you have determined that a particular film, television series, the genre of film, or other grouping is a good vehicle for Film Tourism, there are many angles from which you can approach the creation of a tourism vehicle.

Perhaps the simplest and least expensive of these angles is a Film Tour Map. This can be a map that is available on your film commission’s site, your tourism department’s site, downloadable to a smartphone or tablet or can be made into an app. But many find that tourists still like to have an actual, physical map to follow, regardless of the available technology. Film Tour Maps are often “self-guided” tours and can provide a treasure hunt-type experience. On actual Film Tours, there will often be a Film Tour Map given out so that the tourists can follow along, read more in-depth about a particular show or location.

Film Tour Maps can have an additional purpose: as a document distributed to governing and/or funding bodies as it inherently illustrates the film activity that has taken place in the region and the popularity that has ensued, thus provides visual proof of economic activity.