Why do people travel? To see beautiful sights, meet new people, see great cultural relics, try new cuisines? Or is it because they saw it on TV?
This is the result of a new survey which shows that 96% of respondents (96% men, 97% women) have visited places associated with their favorite TV shows or movies at least once.
Women travel more than men, but it seems that both men and women enjoy visiting movie destinations equally. While young women might not be as interested in seeing where Breaking Bad was filmed, they’re likely to be interested in France, thanks to Emily in Paris. When I had my car serviced, a service advisor said about HBO white lotus“I want to go! This hotel looks amazing!
The study is photo help, a tech startup developing AI tools to take biometric photos. Travelers can use PhotoAid to obtain passport and visa photos online, the biometric “guaranteed compliance”.
The study has some interesting findings:
78% of travelers are likely or very likely to take TV or movie-themed trips in 2023 and beyond. Globally, the UK and Ireland are the top tourist destinations due to the success of Harry Potter.
· Thanks to the Jurassic Park franchise, Hawaii was the most sought-after movie tourism destination in the United States, according to 31% of respondents.
· Accommodation is the most frequently mentioned film tourism expense (60%), followed by transportation (53%) and sightseeing (50%).
· 68% of Americans have a negative attitude toward other travelers posing irreverently or misbehaving when visiting the sites of real tragic events depicted in shows or movies like Chernobyl or Schindler’s List.
· The most common reason for engaging in film tourism (35%) is to enjoy an immersive experience that allows you to experience the plots of your favorite TV or streaming shows or movies.
Although it mostly happens in your mind (unless you bring a script and perform lines with other travelers), you can literally follow in the footsteps of famous people.
In the world, the most popular shows for tourism are:
Harry Potter (UK, Ireland), 20.2%
The Lord of the Rings (New Zealand), 18.1%
Game of Thrones (Northern Ireland, UK, Croatia, Spain), 17%
Squid Game (South Korea), 16.7%
Sherlock (UK), 15.9%
In 2019 my wife and I inadvertently joined a glut of fellow travelers visiting Gaztelugatxe. An island in the Bay of Biscay in northern Spain, it turns out to have been the Game of Thrones location for Daenerys Targaryen’s ancestral home, Dragonstone. The 10e Century monastery turned into a grand castle with the help of CGI.
The survey indicates that Americans are watching more TV than ever before, with the average person likely to stream 437 hours of content in 2023, or nearly 20 full days of binge-watching. And with much of the world locked down by COVID, television and film have literally been our window to the world.
For 44% of respondents, a favorite TV show or movie was the main reason for visiting a particular place, and for 39%, it had some influence. The study revealed that 73% found visiting a destination shown on screen to be positive or very positive.
The most popular US movie and TV show destinations are:
Jurassic Park (Hawaii), 30.6%
Friends (New York), 30.5%
· Prankster  (New York), 28.6%
Home Alone 2 (New York), 27.9%
Big Little Lies (Monterey, CA), 25%
However, there are limits. A Millennial described a trip to Kauai and visiting the area where Jurassic Park was filmed. PhotoAid says Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom gave Hawaii’s economy a $31 million boost and more than $6.9 million in wages to 1,200 workers. My acquaintance said, “It was nice, but it was just green, trees and jungle.” I asked, “Were you chased by a dinosaur?” “Nope!”
Yet when asked how likely they were to choose their next vacation destinations based on their favorite TV show or movie in 2023 and beyond, 45% were likely to do so and 33% very likely. Why do people go to destinations they’ve seen on screen?
To become emotionally immersed in a location where the TV show/movie was filmed, 35%
To discover the landscapes of the city presented in the program, 34.9%
To visit the restaurants featured in the show, 34.4%
To discover a place that has meaning with a story rather than visiting a trendy destination, 33.9%
To visit a place a favorite celebrity has been, 33.6%
The most popular screen destinations seem to be driven by a combination of recency, popularity, and persistence. Friends aired from 1994 to 2004, but it’s one of the most popular TV shows of all time and it’s constantly being re-run. However, we visited Blackjack Ranch and Winery in Los Osos, California, one of the settings for the cult comedy hit Next to. The wine-pouring host complained about how few people were visiting an “eighteen-year-old movie.”
Airbnb jumped on the movie and TV bandwagon with renting a Scooby-Doo ‘Mystery Machine’a weird eye house, and a red Mill red windmill overlooking the Eiffel Tower. Hopefully everyone had installed carbon monoxide detectors.
netflix in partnership with the United Nations World Tourism Organization to “help destinations realize the potential benefits of screen tourism”. And “Visit Albuquerque” makes it easy for Breaking Bad fans to plan a visit to New Mexico to reach the heights.
“Film tourism is a rapidly growing form of tourism that lacks empirical research,” says Tomek Mlodzki, CEO of PhotoAid. “That’s why we wanted to shed some light on the subject and find out about people’s experiences with film tourism, find out what they think about it and find out how it benefits local economies.
The online survey had 1,060 US respondents, 66.8% male and 33.2% female. Some 7.6% of the respondents were 25 years old or younger and 70.01% were between 26 and 38 years old. The survey was weighted to ensure that the results are representative.