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Film and TV-induced Tourism: Some Contemporary Aspects and Perspectives

Introduction

Nathalie Dupont

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1Though film-induced tourism has become a relatively new aspect of tourism studies, it nevertheless belongs to the numerous contemporary tourism-linked activities bringing people to a specific country. Indeed, the attraction generated by a nation through its landscapes, its art and its traditions has long been visible through their induced tourism, whether it was during the 18th century with the Grand Tour of a notable privileged few to Italy, and now with the hordes of tourists (in pre-Covid times…) who have flocked to the Great Pyramid of Giza, Stonehenge, Venice or swarmed the Mona Lisa at the Louvres.

  • 1 Joseph S. Nye, Soft Power (New York: PublicAffairs, 2004), 34 and 75.
  • 2 Nye, Soft Power, X and 5.

2On the one hand, this ability of certain nations to entice, particularly through their culture or their landscapes, foreign visitors to their countries is part of the attractive “indicators” and “cultural magnets”1 that are potential sources of soft power, which Joseph S. Nye thus defined: “[Soft Power] is the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion or payments. It arises from the attractiveness of a country’s culture, political ideas, and policies. […] Soft Power rests on the ability to shape the preferences of others.”2 Nye has ranked tourism among those potential soft power sources. There is also no doubt that the development of the post-war consumer society, together with globalization, have amplified mass tourism, while fast modern means of transport such as airplanes and now low-cost companies have allowed an ever-increasing number of tourists to travel faster and further at more affordable prices.

  • 3 As pointed to by the many debates on the question of film censorship since cinema’s inception.
  • 4 The original quotation reads: “Le cinéma, en tant que produit social, ne peut se développer contre (...)

3On the other hand, visual arts have also played their part in attracting tourists to specific spots, wherever those may be. As a 20th century newly born visual, ‘seventh’ art, cinema comes to mind as a force that can entice tourists. Its growing popularity with an increasing number of people has quickly drawn attention to its potential as a social influencer3 and bearer of specific ideologies, as pointed to by Anne-Marie Bidaud: “[…] cinema, as a social product, cannot develop against the very society that produces it; as an industry sponsored by the largest American financial groups, it cannot but support their interests, whether economic or ideological.”4 

  • 5 Nye, Soft Power, 47 and 17.

4Cinema can therefore be a vector of soft power: “Pictures often convey values more powerfully than words,” and through their global distribution, films and television series are important sources of soft power, notably the United States’: “Much of American Soft Power has been produced by Hollywood […].”5

  • 6 In 2018, in a pre-covid era, the top 10 cinema markets represented 7 954 million admissions, i.e. a (...)
  • 7 Peter Bolan and Kelly Davidson, “Film Induced Tourism in Ireland: Exploring the Potential” (in A. B (...)

5But as a global mass medium,6 cinema can also trigger the interest of spectators in the places featured on screen: “Just as paintings whetted the appetite of tourists in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries to visit particular destinations, film has become the modern-day equivalent for the tourist.”7  Sue Beeton has also underlined that aspect in her writings, whether it be for the silver screen or TV:

  • 8 Sue Beeton, Film-Induced Tourism, 4.

The popular media of the day influences the appeal of travel destinations and activities through constructing or reinforcing particular images of those destinations and acting as 'markers'. In the past, media such as literature, music and poetry have been a major element, even more so than visual media such as art. […] From the mid-20th century, film (and later television) became the main mass media outlet and has been particularly effective in affecting tourism.8

  • 9 Graham Busby and Julia Klug, “Movie-induced Tourism: the Challenge of Measurement and other Issues, (...)

6In fact, the films’ and TV series’ soft power to highlight specific spots in the eyes of spectators —who are also potential tourists— has thus generated film-induced tourism that can be defined as a tourist visit to [a] destination or attraction as a result of the destination featured on the cinema screen, video or television,9 the definition being then widened by Sue Beeton in 2005:

  • 10 Beeton, Film-Induced Tourism, 11.

[film-induced tourism] takes a broad brush, applying the term to visitation to sites where movies and TV programmes have been filmed, as well as to tours to production studios, including film-related theme parks… (any) tourist activity associated with the film industry, be it on-site in the field, or at (or near) the production studio.10

  • 11 Stefan Roesch, The Experience of Film Location Tourists (Bristol: Channel View Publications, 2009), (...)

7To which can be added that some shooting locations also attract fans/tourists while they are being used: Film tourism is a specific pattern of tourism that drives visitors to see screen places during or after production of a feature film or a television production.11 

8Film-induced tourism is not a contemporary development in the tourism business, and for example “The Mutiny of the Bounty (1935) was one of the first feature films to cause major tourism influxes to a film location,”12 and at the 2018 Tourism, Cinema and TV Tourism conference,13 Joël Augros pointed out the fact that the 1965 American box office success of The Sound of Music (Robert Wise, 1965) triggered some interest in Austria. American tourists (and others) then flew to the country as they wanted to retrace the footsteps of the Van Trapp family at the places used to shoot their on-screen adventures. This first surprised the locals14 before they rapidly seized the opportunity. The local company that had furnished cars and buses for the film production thus quickly adapted, creating its The Sound of Music Tour. This Salzburg Panorama Tours company consequently capitalized on what is now called film-induced tourism and it continues to do so nowadays as its tour “seems to have great appeal for some Asian nationalities.15

9The film-induced impact of some places can indeed be long-lasting, as exemplified by Fort La Latte, located on the French emerald coast of Brittany, that still financially benefits from the 1957 local runaway shooting16 of The Vikings (Richard Fleischer, 1958),17 or by the link between Star Wars (George Lucas, 1977) and Tunisia where the saga’s fans have been going for many years to walk in the footsteps of Luke Skywalker on Tatooine.18 There is also little doubt that in the years to come, there will still be many wizard fans retracing Harry Potter’s steps on the lawns of Alnwick castle (where he took his first broomstick riding lesson19) and in Gloucester cathedral, Lacock abbey, at King’s Cross station or at Warner Bros. Studio Tour-The Making of Harry Potter in Leavesden.20 Those places bear witness to the global ‘Potter Mania’ that developed after the release of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Chris Columbus, 2001). The Harry Potter franchise and its 8 feature films are all the more interesting as far as film-induced tourism is concerned as they highlight, together with other successful franchises like Star Wars or The Lord of the Rings, the additional benefits of repeated exposure that a ‘film franchise’ brings over one-off ‘stand alone’ movies.21

10In fact, film (and TV)-induced tourism has multiple aspects, as defined for example by Busby and Klug with 9 forms of movie tourism and their ensuing characteristics.22 As said before, many tourists indeed wish to retrace the footsteps of their screen heroes as described by Stefan Roesch in The Experiences of Film Location Tourists.23 This also includes those who want to sit on the iron throne featured in the touring Game of Thrones exhibition,24 or fans taking part in Harry Potter’s conventions organized at Leavesden.25 Those different aspects of film-induced tourism highlight the fact that modern blockbusters and other popular film and TV productions, together with their runaway status, can trigger profits for ancillary markets that are not just linked to selling toys, DVDs or T-shirts reading ‘May the force be with you’ at the time of a film’s release. Consequently, many countries have now grasped the benefit they can derive from film-induced tourism, as pointed out for Great Britain by Stefan Roesch: “In 1996, the British Tourism Association -today’s VisitBritain- was the first tourism organisation that tried to capitalise on film tourism through the publication of a movie map featuring locations from various films shot in Great Britain.”26 France itself spared no effort27 to be the European country that would host a Disney park on its territory, so as to capitalize on jobs and benefits thanks to tourists attracted by the Disney universe (while the company thus increased its soft power and eventually profits through such a site).28 The Disney park that opened in Shanghai in 2016 once again highlights this factor in a country where cinema admissions have increased to the point of making China one of the leading global box office markets in 2019 generating $9.3 billion,29 just behind the North American one and its $11.4 billion.30

  • 31 Sue Beeton, Film-Induced Tourism, 2nd Edition, Kindle edition, (Bristol: Channel view publications, (...)
  • 32 Beeton, Film-Induced Tourism (2005), 11.

11The development of film-induced tourism and its multiple aspects have thus grown into a field worthy of academic interests, and the aforementioned authors, alongside others, have brought to the fore its different aspects and intricacies as “How, when and why a film (movie or TV series) inspires people to visit a particular locality is an important aspect that requires further study” so as to grasp how the “studies of the history of film and tourism assist in our understanding of tourism development as well as that of film-induced tourism.”31 The present issue of InMedia thus intends to focus on some aspects of film-induced tourism, its scope being based on the “broad brush” of Sue Beeton’s definition.32

12It all begins of course with a film or a TV series, and in “Gazing on Pas de Calais,” Jamie Steele’s article argues that the re-presentation of space and place for global and local audiences constructs a touristic cultural imaginary in Lucas Belvaux’s Pas son genre (2013) as the audience’s gaze is centred on two cinematic spaces: the historical architecture of city centres and their local and cultural traditions and the ‘icons’ of global tourism, such as beaches.

  • 33 Roesch, The Experience of Film Location Tourists, 7-8.

13Countries, places and buildings also have their part to play in film-induced tourism. They can be “on-locations,” and so “a film location tourist, whether pre-planned or by coincidence, is a person who actively visits a precise on-location that has been used for shooting a scene or scenes that were portrayed on the cinema or television screen.”33 Such is the subject of three of our articles. In “Beyond Aesthetics: Hollywood Studios, Financial Incentives and Film-induced Tourism, Joseph Armando Soba analyses to what extent Louisiana has benefited from film-induced tourism as an impact of its financial efforts to lure Hollywood studios to shoot on location in the state. Giulia Lavarone’s “Gazing without Risk” explores how Italian heritage is presented through the narrative and stylistic features of The Great Beauty (Paolo Sorrentino, 2013), and the ways to consume as a tourist suggested by the tourism industry through its interpretation of the movie. And in “Travel-inspiring skeletons in Spectre and Coco – Film tourism and the Día de Muertos in Mexico, Viola Rühse studies how those two big-budget films featuring elements of the Día de Muertos have benefited tourism to Mexico and generated a more positive, though sometimes biased, image of the country.

  • 34 Roesch, The Experience of Film Location Tourists, 7.

14Places can also be “off-locations,”34 bringing to mind the film-based attractions, studios and numerous film theme parks that exist throughout the world. In “A Magic Beyond All We Do Here: Musical and Sonic Worldbuilding at Harry Potter Tourist Attractions,” Daniel White thus relies on the not-often used musical angle (and the provided web links enable readers to listen to some music) to analyse the use of music and sound at four distinct attractions related to the Harry Potter franchise as music is shown to draw variously on motivic memory and nostalgia, heightening or intensifying emotional connections and in each case enabling the imaginative inhabitation of a fantasy world.

  • 35 Beeton, Film-Induced Tourism, 2nd Edition, Kindle edition, 24.

15Finally, the case study approach whose importance is underlined in Sue Beeton’s Film-Induced Tourism and on which many academic articles are based also led to the choice of featuring three interviews in the present issue. As “in a case study the context is integral to understanding the case,”35 those film and TV-series based interviews highlight some local aspects of film and TV-induced tourism and may inspire future research.

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Bibliographie

Beeton, Sue. Film-Induced Tourism. Clevedon: Channel View Publications, 2005.

Bidaud, Anne-Marie. Hollywood et le rêve américain. Paris: Masson, 1994.

Bolan, Peter and Lindsay Williams, Lindsay. “The Role of Image in Service Promotion: Focusing on the influence of Film on Consumer Choice within Tourism.” International Journal of Consumer Studies 32 (2008): 382-390.

Busby, Graham and Klug, Julia. Movie-induced Tourism: The Challenge of Measurement and other Issues. Journal of Vacation Marketing 7, no. 4, (October 2001): 316332.

European Audiovisual Observatory. https://www.obs.coe.int/en/web/observatoire/ <accessed on March 15, 2021>.

Motion Pictures Association. https://www.mpa-apac.org/ <accessed on April 27, 2020>

Newell, Lauren A. “Mickey Goes to France: A Case Study of the Euro Disneyland Negotiations.” The Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution 15, 193 (2013): 193-220. https://digitalcommons.onu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1004&context=law_faculty <accessed on July 13, 2021>.

Nye, Joseph S. Soft Power. New York: PublicAffairs, 2004.

Roesch, Stefan. The Experience of Film Location Tourists. Bristol: Channel View Publications, 2009.

Salzburg Panorama Tour. https://www.panoramatours.com/en/salzburg/tour/original-sound-of-music-tour-tour-1a-28/. <accessed on April 24, 2021>.

Steinhart, Daniel. Runaway Hollywood. Oakland: University of California Press, 2019.

Urry, John., and Larsen, Jonas. The Tourist Gaze 3.0. London: Sage Publications, 2011.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour-The Making of Harry Potter. https://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk <accessed on February 10, 2021>.

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Notes

1 Joseph S. Nye, Soft Power (New York: PublicAffairs, 2004), 34 and 75.

2 Nye, Soft Power, X and 5.

3 As pointed to by the many debates on the question of film censorship since cinema’s inception.

4 The original quotation reads: “Le cinéma, en tant que produit social, ne peut se développer contre la société qui le produit; en tant qu’industrie commanditée par les plus grands groupes financiers américains, il ne peut également qu’être solidaire de leurs intérêts, économiques et idéologiques.” Anne-Marie Bidaud, Hollywood et le rêve américain (Paris: Masson, 1994), 4.

5 Nye, Soft Power, 47 and 17.

6 In 2018, in a pre-covid era, the top 10 cinema markets represented 7 954 million admissions, i.e. a 4.5% growth over 5 years (European Audiovisual Observatory, Focus 2019, 13. https://www.obs.coe.int/en/web/observatoire/industry/focus <accessed on March 16, 2021>), while in 2019 Charles H. Rivkin, chairman and CEO of the MPA proudly wrote in the MPA Theme Report that “for the first time ever, the combined global market for theatrical, home, and mobile entertainment has topped $100 billion […] The global box office in 2019 climbed to $42.2 billion, besting the previous year. Home/mobile entertainment, which includes streaming at home or on the go, grew by an astonishing 14 percent worldwide.” MPA Theme Report 2019, 3. https://www.mpa-apac.org/research-docs/2019-theme-report/ <accessed on April 27, 2021>.

7 Peter Bolan and Kelly Davidson, “Film Induced Tourism in Ireland: Exploring the Potential” (in A. Bushe, “Projecting a Cinematic Boost for Tourism,” The Newsletter, June 13, 2005), and Sue Beeton, Film-Induced Tourism (Clevedon: Channel View Publications, 2005), 4.

8 Sue Beeton, Film-Induced Tourism, 4.

9 Graham Busby and Julia Klug, “Movie-induced Tourism: the Challenge of Measurement and other Issues,” Journal of Vacation Marketing, 7, 4, (October 2001): 317.

10 Beeton, Film-Induced Tourism, 11.

11 Stefan Roesch, The Experience of Film Location Tourists (Bristol: Channel View Publications, 2009), 6.

12 Roesch, The Experience of Film Location Tourists, 8.

13 Sarah Kelley, “Tourism, Cinema and TV Series Conference,” Transatlantica, Issue 2, 2018. https://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/transatlantica/13571 <accessed on June 30, 2021>.

14 Though it became a box office hit in many countries, the film was not very successful in Austria nor in Germany. Joan Barthel, “Biggest Money-Making Movie of all Time - How Come ? ”, The New York Times, November 20, 1966. https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/packages/html/movies/bestpictures/music-ar.html <accessed on July 12, 2021>.

15 Salzburg Panorama Tour, https://www.panoramatours.com/en/salzburg/tour/original-sound-of-music-tour-tour-1a-28/ <accessed April 24, 2021>, and Roesch, The Experience of Film Location Tourists, 113.

16 For more on this topic, see for example Daniel Steinhart, Runaway Hollywood (Oakland: University of California Press, 2019).

17 Château de La Roche Goyon/ Fort La Latte. https://www.lefortlalatte.com and https://www.facebook.com/fortlalatteofficiel/posts/797194190762716?__tn__=K-R <accessed on April 14, 2021>.

18 https://www.tunisiatourism.info/fr/articles/star-wars-en-tunisie-aux-origines-des-skywalker <accessed on July 12, 2021>.

19 https://www.alnwickcastle.com/explore/whats-here/broomstick-training <accessed on July 12, 2021>.

20 Warner Bros. Studio Tour-The Making of Harry Potter. https://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk <accessed on February 10, 2021>.

21 Peter Bolan and Lindsay Williams, “The role of Image in Service Promotion : Focusing on the Influence of Film on Consumer Choice within Tourism,” International Journal of Consumer Studies 32, (2008): 385.

22 Busby and Klug, “Movie-induced Tourism: the Challenge of Measurement and other Issues,” 318.

23 Roesch, The Experience of Film Location Tourists, .

24 https://www.paris-expo-portedeversailles.com/fr/site/paris-expo-porte-de-versailles/manifestation/exposition-game-of-thrones <accessed on July 13, 2021>.

25 https://fortheloveofharry.com/2019-harry-potter-events/ <accessed on July 13, 2021>.

26 Roesch, The Experience of Film Location Tourists, 3.

27 Much to the dismay of some French people, politicians and union leaders who wanted “Mickey, [to] go home” among other things. Lauren A. Newell, “Mickey Goes to France: A Case Study of the Euro Disneyland Negotiations,” The Cardozo Journal of Conflict Resolution 15, no. 193 (2013): 205-216. https://digitalcommons.onu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1004&context=law_faculty <accessed on July 13, 2021>.

28 For more on this see Janet Wasko, Understanding Disney (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2001).

29 Though the access of foreign films to the Chinese screens is still very much limited.

30 MPA, Theme Report 2019, 11 and 13. https://www.mpa-apac.org/research-docs/2019-theme-report/ <accessed on April 27, 2020>.

31 Sue Beeton, Film-Induced Tourism, 2nd Edition, Kindle edition, (Bristol: Channel view publications, 2016), 19.

32 Beeton, Film-Induced Tourism (2005), 11.

33 Roesch, The Experience of Film Location Tourists, 7-8.

34 Roesch, The Experience of Film Location Tourists, 7.

35 Beeton, Film-Induced Tourism, 2nd Edition, Kindle edition, 24.

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Nathalie Dupont, « Introduction »InMedia [En ligne], 9.1. | 2021, mis en ligne le 15 janvier 2022, consulté le 13 juin 2024. URL : http://0-journals-openedition-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/inmedia/3024 ; DOI : https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.4000/inmedia.3024

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Auteur

Nathalie Dupont

Nathalie Dupont is Associate professor of American studies at the University du Littoral Côte d'Opale (ULCO). Her research focuses on the contemporary films produced by American studios, and what those films tell us about American society. It also focuses on the links between Hollywood and American Christians. She has published several articles on those subjects, as well as Between Hollywood and Godlywood: the Case of Walden Media (Peter Lang, London, 2015). She is a co-founder of CinEcoSA (https://www.cinecosa.com) and co-organizer of several of its conferences.

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