Film Tourism: A Driver of Local and International Tourism

A tourism influx to destinations where the movie is shot – enables a connection with the world of films. Film Tourism; A concept rising with ever-growing popularity.

Bharti Sharma

Film Tourism – the business of attracting visitors by portraying a place or a place’s storylines in movies. We generally see a particular location in a movie and start getting a major FOMO. “I so want to go there,” – is the first thought that pops into our minds.  This may be due to many reasons. Maybe because we think that the destination is very happening or trending, or because we ‘really’ enjoyed the film and want to experience a little more of it in some way. Film tourism has the ability to motivate viewers to visit a specific film site through the destinations represented on screen.

Cinema- An Absolute Mediator of Tourism
Cinema is generally seen as a mediator of leisure and recreation, social messages and cultural beliefs. Hence, it can be often used as an instrument to influence in terms of tourist attractions. Off lately, this has worked quite positively for the tourism sector of India. Even though the main purpose of films is to serve entertainment to the viewers and earn profits, over time, the role of films has expanded quite a lot. Along with the basic role, nowadays films have also become the medium of bringing opulence to new destinations. Films decide their shoot locations in such a way that the viewers get attracted and undergo a sudden urge and dire need to visit these marvellous destinations. Another reason for undertaking Film Tourism is that people want to follow in the footsteps of their favourite stars. The plot of movies also serves a lot in this direction – if a movie is able to connect with the minds of its viewers at an emotional and mental level, it gives rise to Film Tourism.

The Psychology of Film-Induced Travels
After watching different locations in a movie and their representation in the most attractive and alluring way, the viewers find it extremely hard to resist visiting those destinations. This serves as an instrument in the process of marketing the possessions of our country. It helps in building the country’s image across the globe.

Film Tourism eliminates the barriers of seasonality from the minds of the travellers as they feel an urge to visit a particular destination only after watching the film. They are no longer skeptical about the peak season of tourism and at times, may not be willing to wait. Knowledge of culture and heritage also increase among viewers through Film Tourism. Along with the innumerable other benefits, Film Tourism also serves good to the transportation and hospitality departments.

Indian Cinema – Avenue for Income Creation

Speaking of India, it is the largest producer of films in the world. Bollywood has a great bunch of the finest actors of all time. The Indian film industry has always been popular among entertainment lovers. The country holds the potential to receive up to1 million film tourists by the end of this year. With a diverse culture, India produces movies in a wide range of languages. These movies leave a huge impact on the minds of their viewers. When a viewer gets induced to visit a particular destination after seeing it in a movie, it may become as contagious as it gets.

Movies affect tourism by offering another reason for a person to visit a particular location. Another way films affect the tourism industry is by offering more avenues for income to be created.

Film Tourism Policies

Owing to the increase in growth of the tourism industry because of films, the Rajasthan Government unveiled attractive incentives up to 2 crores for film producers. In July 2022, the government announced the policy to motivate producers from outside the state and also internationally, to shoot at their destinations. A few policies also consisted of special incentives to promote and encourage the local film industry as well. Similarly, the Gujarat Cinematic Tourism Policy scheme decided to offer several financial and non-financial incentives for film infrastructure development projects and to facilitate film-making projects in the state. Governments from all across the world are establishing ground policies for the film industry to boom, in turn concomitantly skyrocketing the tourism industry.

The Entertainment-Tourism Connection

Bollywood flicks like Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani and Jab Tak Hai Jaan, which showed the oh-so-thrilling experience of adventurous activities like trekking and mountaineering in wonderful destinations across the country. Coorg in Bangalore was an unexplored and inexperienced site in India till the mid-90s but as of today, it is one of the topmost preferred destinations for famous tourist spots like Madikeri Fort, Nagarhole National Park and many majestic waterfalls. Films like Ravaan and 7 Khoon Maaf were shot in the alleys of Coorg.

Going international, James Bond fans flocked to Thailand in order to visit Khao Phing Kan. This island was featured in the 1974 movie, ‘The Man with The Golden Gun.’ Tour operators from all around the travel industry were quick enough to rebrand the island as ‘James Bond Island’ and almost overnight, Thailand became the most popular destination for fans of 007. New Zealand is heaven for all Lord of the Rings fans. You may have had absolutely no interest in visiting New Zealand – until you saw Lord of the Rings and found out it was filmed there, and that there are specific locations you could visit as a fan.

Films- A Free PR for Destinations

The biggest positive impact is on the location itself and the surrounding areas. People are now visiting destinations they may not have otherwise been interested in – and that means they are spending money. Whether that is with tour companies, local businesses or hotels, money is flowing in. From this comes better employment opportunities, a better standard of living and a sense of pride in the area. By promoting themselves as a film destination, places are able to create a positive and fun image of themselves. The film is free PR for them – and it is something which will continue to have an impact as more and more people watch the movies over time. We’re talking years, especially if the film is a blockbuster, particularly successful or a classic.

Most importantly it encourages governments and citizens to work towards protecting the destination, specifically environmentally but also in terms of infrastructure. This is not only great for the tourists, of course, but for the locals too.

The travel industry is evolving fast and so is the film industry. The alliance between the two is profiting both simultaneously. The trend is not only significant but also growing potentially.



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