‘Strange(r) Things’ NETFLIX did to Tourism

Netflix commanding a streaming revolution that changed the way we watch TV and films. As television operators lost subscribers, Netflix gained them.A stage all the more symbolic because it has not only change the mode of entertainment for us but has also influenced our travel itineraries. So keep in mind, the next show you binge watch might well determine your next holiday.

Bharti Sharma

Emperors ruling in majestic castles, spies and intelligence agents conducting search operations and thieves robbing precious gems from grand museums, each one of us has felt our soul racing at the sight of these exotic wonders and suddenly thought of buying a plane ticket to these destinations. Netflix’s famous series namely, Narcos and Money Heist have become famous worldwide attracting hefty numbers of tourist to Colombia and Spain, respectively.

What’s seen is sold

Notes fly in the air, jobless people march in the streets, and credits roll while ‘Bella Ciao’ plays. ‘La Casa de Papel’ or‘Money Heist’ has enticed thousands of viewers in Spain, thanks to Netflix’s diffusion. This series talks about the meticulous prepared robbery of the Royal Mint of Spain in Madrid. Where exactly is it? The Royal Mint of Spain is on Jorge Juan Street, 106, in the Salamanca district.Yes, exactly the same place where you see hordes of tourists clicking selfies and posting them on instagram with hashtag #LaCasadePapel.

Elisa Robles Fraga, Director at Tourism Office of Spain in Mumbai,Indiatrusts that Indians have loved Spanish series always since not only Money Heist (La Casa de Papel), but other series in Spanish such as ‘Narcos’, and Spanish film ‘The Invisible Guest’ have been quite popular amongst the Indian audience. “Currently, as we are aware due to heavy digitisation and digital evolutions of the Indian market, with internet data available at really affordable prices and in bulk, several Indians consume a lot of content online and they watch several series on a number of available OTT (Over-The-Top) platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video,” she adds.

 First ever Turkish Netflix series, ‘The Protector’features the capital city Istanbul and series, The Gift showcasesfamous places such as GöbekliTepe, the country’s oldest archaeological which has witnessed tremendous increase in number of tourists.

A true instrument of success

Ever since the political situation has calmed down, Colombia has opened up to tourism. For past two or three years now, Colombia has repeatedly appeared in the top countries to discover. Well, who remembers Pablo Escobar? The drug cartel kingpin, Pablo Escobar’s home city Medellin has made a miraculous recovery after decades of bloodshed, but his shadow remains, The Netflix series ‘Narcos’ is constantly cited as the number one reason to visit the city by foreign tourists. Former crime capital and stronghold of Pablo Escobar, Medellin has seen a steady increase of more than 25 per cent of its tourist arrivals in recent years and visitors can now embark on various tours following the footsteps of the famous trafficker.The tourism authorities of Colombia and of Medellin prefer not to dwell on this dark hour of their history and have even blew up the family residence, Monaco building. It was city’s number one tourist attraction, with visitors from around the globe. As much as Pablo’s existence impaired the country, Netflix managed to preserve it and bestowed with hordes of tourists.

According to a study conducted by Barclays, the Netflix series The Crown, which focus on the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, has also generated a real resurgence of interest for England with 63 per cent of international tourists surveyed more interested in visiting the country than in previous years.

Hitting the high notes

Nothing connects the world better than diversities in culture. With an inquisitiveness to dig in and experience different cultures, the travellers can connect and relate to the destination that they have seen in series. But question is why? Netflix viewing behaviour has now become one of the strongest predictor of entertainment driven tourism. As the viewers are more likely to be exposed to the destination image for a longer period, crowd looks for landmarks shown in the series. Specialised tours such as, ‘Protector Tours’ inspired from The Protector, ‘Narcos’ inspired tours in Columbia, etc  have begun flourishing everywhere in the local travel agencies of the city. Some foreign tour operators have also contacted the streaming service to create tours as faithful as possible to the locations depicted in the series.

Weimar Berlin and the world of GereonRath and Charlotte Ritter, this tour is perfection. ‘Babylon Berlin’ took Germany and the world by storm drawing numbers of viewers. Talking about the interest of tourists in exclusive Babylon ToursRomitTheophilus, Director- Sales & Marketing, GNTO India says, “Fans can also explore the most exciting locations from the hit series such as Alexanderplatz and the Red Town Hall. Afascinating and elegant portrait of a city and period of time that is rarely explored in popular culture and it is worth exploring the destinations through the exciting tour.”

Who’s responsible for Responsible Tourism?

We all are aware of the scenario, when Game of Thrones happened to Dubrovnik. Just 42,615 people live in Dubrovnik, yet over two million people visit during the high season each summer. The Old Town is flooded with hot bodies and selfie sticks.Many people, especially those from the Old Town, feel that Dubrovnik’s original spirit cannot be recovered.As the number of visitors keeps rising, local authorities are looking for ways to keep the throngs from killing the town’s charm. This directly results in mass tourism; city’s heritage title gets at risk and has a bad impact on sustainability.

And the award goes to…. NETFLIX

It is evident that list of countries who credit Netflix for their good tourist figures are cumulating.Elisaasserts, “We definitely credit several OTT platforms such as Netflix for helping host this invaluable, entertaining content which generates a great interest in the minds of the viewers for the destination showcased in their shows. Viewing of such content certainly helps increase tourism numbers to our destination.”Netflix or in movies is becoming an important selling point, as it allows travelers to truly connect with the destination. “Considering the demand of Netflix in Indian market, we are glad to say that this has definitely increased number of Indian travellers, traveling to Turkey. The protector has defined Turkey in a unique way. In 2020, we are expecting at least 90 per cent increase in the numbers from India,” tells Komal Seth, Director LINKIN Reps.

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