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Local Aspects and Impacts of Film-induced Tourism

Introducing Three Interviews with Local Tourism Stakeholders
Nathalie Dupont

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1In The Experiences of Film Location Tourists, Stefan Roesch mentioned that “film tourism is a specific pattern of tourism that drives visitors to see screened places during or after the production of a feature film or a television production.”1 This trend has now definitely been taken up by different national and local tourism industries: California, home to many Hollywood studios, has of course its own specific internet page dedicated to film/TV tourism,2 and VisitBritain, which had notably highlighted many Harry Potter-themed destinations, now focusses on Back to Bridgerton-11 filming Locations From the Hit Show.3 Discover Northern Ireland has been surfing on the worldwide success of Game of Thrones4 while New Zealand, which welcomed the famed shooting of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, devotes one section to film tourism on Tourism New Zealand.5

2Films and TV series also generate their own dedicated tourism activities, whether it be on their official sites6 or through private companies’ like City Breaker’s still active Da Vinci Code-themed tour.7 France is a rather late comer to the full panoply of film-induced tourism as the law facilitating hosting foreign runaway productions on its territory was only voted in 2009.8 Since then Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan, 2017), Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (David Yates, 2018), Inception (Christopher Nolan, 2010), M:I – Impossible - Fallout (Christopher McQuarrie, 2018), Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (Guy Ritchie, 2011), Thor (Keneth Branagh, 2011), Wonder Woman (Patty Jenkins, 2017) and the TV series Merlin (Shine and BBC Wales, 2008-2012) were among the big-budget productions that have benefited from the enticing French tax rebate.9

  • 10 For more on this, see for example the works of Sue Beeton, Kerry Seagrave Daniel Steinhart and Jane (...)
  • 11 Busby, G. and Klug, J.“Movie-induced Tourism: The Challenge of Measurement and Other Issues, Jou (...)

3As studied by several academics10 across a variety of disciplines (for example film studies, economics, geography, adaptation studies, etc.), national legislature’s passage of such tax rebates is expected to reap benefits during and after the shooting of films and TV series on their territories. Film/TV-induced tourism is one of the expected benefits, which has been catalogued into nine different forms, according to Busby and Klug: 11

Form

Characteristic

Film location as an attraction in its own

right (Evans, ref. 5; Tooke and Baker;

ref. 6; Riley, ref. 7)

In some cases, movie locations were not considered to be tourism destinations until they were seen on screen (The Full Monty and Sheffield), while others were already perceived as attractive destinations (Riley, et al., ref. 4)

Movie tourism as part of a main holiday (Evans, ref. 5)

Some tourists will visit a TV or film location or book a film tour while on holiday without any previous knowledge of the location (Evans, ref. 5)

Movie tourism occurring as the sole and main purpose out of special interest (Evans, ref. 5)

The booking of a holiday to a special destination as a direct result of its profile on TV (Evans, ref. 5)

Movie tourism packages created by the private sector (Evans, ref. 5)

Coach companies and tour operators set up packages such as Heartbeat Holidays and Peak Practice Breaks (Evans, ref. 5)

Movie tourism icons for tourists to gaze upon as focal points for visitation (Riley et al., ref. 4)

Natural scenery, historical background, storyline themes, actors, symbolic content, and human relationships can serve as icons and hallmark events for movie tourism (Riley et al., ref. 4)

Movie tourism to places where the filming is only believed to have taken place (Tooke and Baker, ref. 6)

Visitors go to the places represented even if the film was shot in a different setting. The fact that the place filmed is not in every case the place represented does raise questions about illusion, reality, and authenticity in the context of what visitors are expected to see and why (Pocock, ref 40; Herbert, ref. 25; Tooke and Baker, ref. 6; Tetley, ref. 1; Busby and Hambly, ref. 20)

Movie tourism as part of the romantic

gaze (adapted from Urry 1990, ref. 37)

The romantic tourist likes to gaze on places which have been constructed and reinforced by TV and film in solitude and privacy, establishing a semi-spiritual relationship with the place (Urry 1990, ref. 37)

Movie tourism for reasons of pilgrimage, nostalgia, and escape (Riley and Van Doren, ref. 14)

Movie tourism elevates the consumer beyond the mundane reality of everyday life (Tresidder, ref. 72). The movie sites of the films Field of Dreams and Steel Magnolias became pilgrimage points in their own right. In the case of the latter example, the notion of escape was taken literally by some as some visitors imitated the storyline by committing suicide (Riley and Van Doren, ref. 14)

Travel programs (adapted from Squire, ref. 24)

A vehicle through which places and people have been reinterpreted and communicated to wider audiences (Squire, ref. 24)

Table 1: Forms and Characteristics of Movie Tourism

  • 12 Roesch, The Experiences of Film Location Tourists, 14.

4This section presents some of these forms through three interviews with “involved tourism stakeholders”12 taking about different local aspects and impacts of film-induced tourism.

  • 13 Simon Hudson and J.R. Brent Ritchie, “Promoting Destinations via Film Tourism: An Empirical Identif (...)
  • 14 CNC, “L’impact des tournages sur le tourisme,” and “Cinéma et tourisme font bon ménage à Dunkerque, (...)
  • 15 Sarah Kelley, “Tourism, Cinema and TV Series Conference,” Transatlantica 2, (2018). https://journal (...)
  • 16 The film sheds light on Operation Dynamo during which the allied troops were evacuated from the Fre (...)

5The interview Dunkerque and Dunkirk, which can be said to embody the first four forms of Busby and Klug’s classification, highlights the now widespread example of the impact of the “placement of destinations in movies and its influence on tourism”13 through the case of Dunkirk (Christopher Nolan, 2017), a film that benefited from the French tax rebate and led to a case study by the CNC.14 In this interview derived from the 2018 day-conference on Tourism, Film and TV Series,15 Jean-Yves Frémont, town councilor in employment, economic development and tourism, and Sabine l’Hermet, director of Dunkerque tourist office, detail how the locally-shot American blockbuster16 points to the link between the film industry and the role of tourism in local and regional development, notably for the French Hauts-de-France territory and the city where those historical events took place.

  • 17 Busby and Klug, “Movie-induced Tourism: The Challenge of Measurement and Other Issues,” 318.

6In the “Bayeux and the Game of Thrones® tapestry” interview, which can be related to the fourth and fifth forms defined by Busby and Klug,17 Fanny Garbe, head of advertising and communication at the French Bayeux Museum, and Séverine Lecart, consumer marketing manager at Tourism Ireland, explain how Bayeux came to benefit from the television series’ Bayeux-inspired tapestry. The now famous Game of Thrones® television series has no physical links to Bayeux nor its surrounding area. But its subsequent Bayeux-inspired tapestry came to be exhibited in Bayeux as its layout visually echoes its ‘ancestor’s’ depiction of the conquest of England in 1066 by the Duke of Normandy. Commissioned by HBO and Tourism Ireland, the Game of Thrones® tapestry has thus a narrative and visual link to Bayeux and is another example of the impact film/TV-induced tourism can have on regional economic development.

  • 18 The festival presents itself as “the biggest European event entirely dedicated to television series (...)

7Finally, film/TV-induced tourism can also be linked to festivals, which can be related to the third and ninth forms described in Busby and Klug’s classificationDerived from the exchange also held at the 2018 day-conference on Tourism, Film and TV Series, the interview with Karina Hocquette, education, and audience-development manager for the Séries Mania festival, underlines the festival’s impact on the French Hauts-de-France territory. The city of Lille in Northern France has in fact been hosting Séries Mania18 since 2018 with different Séries Mania-labelled events and performances linked to the best international television series. It has subsequently led to a Series-Mania impact on the tourism industry for the Hauts-de-France region.

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Notes

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

2 Visit California homepage. https://www.visitcalifornia.com/road-trips/movie-locations-tour/ <accessed on January 12, 2022>.

3 “Back to Bridgerton – 11 filming locations from the hit show,” Visit Britain. https://www.visitbritain.com/gb/en/bridgerton-11-filming-locations-hit-show <accessed on January 12, 2022>.

4 “Game of Thrones,” Discover Northern Ireland. https://discovernorthernireland.com/things-to-do/tv-and-film/game-of-thrones <accessed on November 23, 2021>.

5 “Film Tourism,” Tourism New Zealand. https://www.tourismnewzealand.com/markets-insights/sectors/film-tourism/ <accessed on January 12,2022>.

6 See for example https://www.wbstudiotour.co.uk or https://www.gameofthronesstudiotour.com <accessed on January 12, 2022>.

7 « Suivez les traces du Da Vinci Code au cœur de paris », City Breaker. https://city-breaker.com/da-vinci-code-paris/ <accessed on January 12, 2022>.

8 Different modifications were then added. CNC, Crédit d’impôt international, https://www.cnc.fr/professionnels/aides-et-financements/multi-sectoriel/production/credit-dimpot-international_778354 <accessed on November 29, 2021> and “Aperçu du système français de crédits d’impôts pour la production cinématographique et audiovisuelle, http://enter-law.com/french-tax-credit-for-film-and-tv-production/?lang=fr <accessed on November 30, 2021>.

9 Variety Staff, “France, Capital of Film, Provides 30% Rebate to Foreign Producers,” Variety.com. https://variety.com/2018/artisans/production/france-production-incentives-2-1202666453/ <accessed on January 11, 2022>.

10 For more on this, see for example the works of Sue Beeton, Kerry Seagrave Daniel Steinhart and Janet Wasko.

11 Busby, G. and Klug, J.“Movie-induced Tourism: The Challenge of Measurement and Other Issues, Journal of Vacation Marketing 7, no. 4 (October 2001): 318.

12 Roesch, The Experiences of Film Location Tourists, 14.

13 Simon Hudson and J.R. Brent Ritchie, “Promoting Destinations via Film Tourism: An Empirical Identification of Supporting Marketing Initiatives,Journal of Travel Research 44, (May 2006): 387-396. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/237807231_Promoting_Destinations_via_Film_Tourism_An_Empirical_Identification_of_Supporting_Marketing_Initiatives <accessed on April 24, 2021>.

14 CNC, “L’impact des tournages sur le tourisme,” and “Cinéma et tourisme font bon ménage à Dunkerque,” CNC, https://www.cnc.fr/cinema/etudes-et-rapports/etudes-prospectives/limpact-des-tournages-sur-le-tourisme_227677 and https://www.cnc.fr/cinema/actualites/cinema-et-tourisme-font-bon-menage-a-dunkerque_44888 <both accessed on January 11, 2022>.

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

16 The film sheds light on Operation Dynamo during which the allied troops were evacuated from the French city of Dunkerque in 1940.

17 Busby and Klug, “Movie-induced Tourism: The Challenge of Measurement and Other Issues,” 318.

18 The festival presents itself as “the biggest European event entirely dedicated to television series in Europe,” Series Mania. https://seriesmania.com <accessed on June 9, 2021>.

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Nathalie Dupont, « Local Aspects and Impacts of Film-induced Tourism »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/3027 ; DOI : https://0-doi-org.catalogue.libraries.london.ac.uk/10.4000/inmedia.3027

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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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