Last week we launched our new Skift Trends report, “The Rise of Destination Marketing Through Movies and TV“, which defines the increasing trend of using movies and TV in tourism branding and marketing, and puts them in context. Below is a short extract, get the report for the full understanding of the movie tourism marketing trends.

Starring in a film has become a surefire way to boost tourism for a destination.

The economic benefit to local economies is huge. In 2012, Tourism Competitive Intelligence found that 40 million international tourists chose their destination primarily because they saw a film shot in that country. Up to 10 percent of tourists in the survey cite movies as a factor in deciding on their destination.

Tourism in New Zealand boomed following the Lord of Rings trilogy. The country launched a huge marketing campaign aimed at making the country synonymous with “middle-earth,” Air New Zealand painted its livery with Hobbit-themed images, and Hobbiton became one of the country’s most visited attractions.

VisitBritain similarly integrated tourism marketing efforts with the Bond film Sky- fall, Virginia touted itself as the site of Lincoln’s filming, and North Carolina turned Hunger Games into an advertisement for its outdoors.

Now destination marketing organizations are realizing the trend and looking to convert the international attention a destination can draw from a movie or TV series into travel bookings.

However, many questions still remain for destination marketers who worry about a dark story plot painting a location in a negative light or who attempt to calculate an appropriate marketing investment for a brand new series.

Hotels, airlines, and restaurants all have the opportunity to benefit from film tourism if given the tools and information to connect the themes brought up in the story with their business offerings.

The bump in tourism to sites featured in individual films is well-documented.

Film releases’ effect on select locations:


Sources: Promoting Destinations via Film Tourism: An Empirical Identification of Supporting Marketing Initiatives by Simon Hudson and J.R. Brent Ritchie, referencing Riley and van Doren (1992); Tooke and Baker (1996); Grihault (2003); Croy and Walker (2003); Cousins and Anderek (1993); Busby, Brunt and Lund (2003); Riley, Baker, and van Doren (1998), and other sources.


The Daily Newsletter

Our daily coverage of the global travel industry. Written by editors and analysts from across Skift’s brands.

Have a confidential tip for Skift? Get in touch

Tags: marketing, movies, tv

Photo credit: Breaking Bad has been a big boost to tourism in Albuquerque and New Mexico. Alex Headrick / Flickr

Up Next

Loading next stories