Globally, tourists are increasingly influenced by TV and film when deciding holiday locations. This form of exposure can bring considerable benefits to destinations.
TV series, films and documentaries tell stories and emotions, but this media form also showcases places. Capturing audience’s attention with images, sounds, and characters, TV and films can show the beauty of the locations where they are filmed, influencing the audience’s perception of them. In turn, TV and cinema productions are now able to increasingly impact the choice of tourist destinations, causing an increase in tourism arrivals and overnight stays. This impact can be defined in multiple ways, such as film tourism, TV tourism, cineturismo, and screen tourism.
Travellers are motivated to visit destinations from TV and movies
With the growth of streaming services, including Netflix, Disney+ and Apple TV, and the increasing popularity of extended dramas, people have become much more enthralled with their entertainment sources. As there are many TV shows on the air, many with multiple filming locations, several destinations worldwide have reportedly experienced a simultaneous tourism influx.
Visitors to Norway rocketed in the wake of Frozen’s popularity, as the Disney movie featured Norwegian architecture, folk art, and fjords. In Croatia, tourists are drawn to Dubrovnik’s Fort Lovrijenac, home to the fictional King’s Landing on HBO’s Game of Thrones series.
Younger generations and males most influenced
According to a 2015 TripAdvisor study, one in five global travellers said they had visited a destination because they saw it on a TV show, demonstrating TV’s influence on destination decisions and tourism demand. Furthermore, according to a GlobalData Consumer Survey*, 17% of global respondents reported that they are influenced by media such as TV and newspapers when deciding where to go on holiday. This rises to 18% of Gen Z respondents, while 17% of Millennials and Gen X respondents were similarly influenced by TV and newspapers when choosing a holiday location. Meanwhile, 19% of male respondents stated that TV and newspaper media forms affect their holiday destinations, compared to just 16% of female respondents.
Film tourism can bring benefits
Film tourism has a significant ability to improve a destinations visibility, to promote them and attract potential tourists by influencing their choice of destination for vacations. Colombia may be the next country to reap the benefits of film tourism. Disney’s newest animated blockbuster, Encanto, tells the story of a young girl who lives with her family in a fictional mountain village in Colombia. The film spotlights Colombia’s landscape, culture, and cuisine. From the Spanish colonial architecture modelled after Cartagena, to the cobblestoned streets, the Choco rainforest. Its abundance of capybaras, coatis, anteaters and jaguars, and haciendas resembling colonial villages like Barichara, Colombia take centre stage in Encanto.
Following the film’s success, Encanto has afforded Colombia an unprecedented degree of exposure and, hopefully tourism success. The Disney movie has placed Colombia into the consciousness of global travelers, dismantling the country’s association with Pablo Escobar. Indicative of this, according to The Times, Skyscanner has reportedly witnessed a 69% increase in bookings to Colombia in 2022 compared with 2019. However, destinations must be wary of ‘overtourism’ and environmental degradation as a consequence of TV and film tourism.
*GlobalData Consumer Survey Q3 2021 – 22, 499 respondents