Ever since the first movie was screened, cinema has captured the imagination of the masses. Hollywood movies have always been a place where people could escape their day-to-day worries and travel into a world of majestic mountains, lush greenery, imposing waterfalls or even a “galaxy far far away.”
The characters came alive on the screen, from the charismatic Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind to the beautiful Princess Leia in the Star Wars series. And, they inspired us and made us aware of the various facets of human nature. Cinema is not just entertainment, it is a mirror of the times we live in, and Hollywood has always done this job well.
An often overlooked aspect of Hollywood is its effect on the tourism industry. “Film tourism,” a concept based on tourist interest in sites made famous by movies, is actually a thing now, and destination marketers around the world are looking at ways to take advantage of it.
Popular Filming Locales
While some movies and the associated storyline or characters, fuel wanderlust in people (think Into the Wild or Leap Year), others have made particular places highly popular for tourists worldwide, simply because the movies were shot at these locations.
For instance, searches for sites in Los Angeles on a travel site increased 21%, while search for travel to Japan surged 46% in a week following the release of La La Land and Martin Scorsese’s Silence, both of which were filmed in spectacular locales of LA and Japan in 2017, respectively, according to an article on The Drum.
Tourism boards and national policy makers are launching tourism campaigns around big budget movie releases. New Zealand is one such country, which has hugely gained in terms of tourism revenue due to the international success of the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which were mainly shot in the country. Along with New Zealand, research indicates that 5% of visitors travel to countries like Italy and Sweden only because of a film or TV series, according to an article on CNN Travel.
Celeb Homes Turned into Luxury Hotels
Over the years, many famous Hollywood celebrity homes have been converted into plush hotels for people to experience.
Debuting in the spring of 2020 is the all-new home-turned-luxury resort of Odette Myrtil, the famous American actress, singer and violinist, a star of major Broadway productions through the 1920s. The River House at Odette’s, as it is called, is a modern luxury style hotel, situated in New Hope, PA, but has all the memorabilia, in the form of an open-concept ballroom, vaulted ceiling lobby, piano lounge and floor-to-ceiling glass doors, offering an unmatched riverfront experience, according to the Riverhouse website.
The Charlie Hotel in West Hollywood, California was once home to the iconic comedian and actor, Charlie Chaplin. Today, it consists of 13 cottages, all named after Hollywood celebrities like Marilyn Monroe and Marlene Dietrich, who have also stayed there or visited the property sometime in the past, target=”_blank” rel=”nofollow”according to an article on Oyster.
Twelve Oaks, located in Covington, Georgia, which served as an inspiration for the mansion in Gone with the Wind, is the only remaining Antebellum-style house in the country, which attracts many tourists. Having featured in the book and the movie, this Southern paradise has served as a renowned bed-and-breakfast, an event venue and a popular tourist destination, with attractions like three acres of plush garden with poolside, chandelier-lit gazebo and a four-car carriage house, according to an article on wtop.
Hollywood inspired tourist destinations are much more than behind-the-scenes tours at Universal Studios or activities like high-end shopping and people-watching on the Sunset Strip and Hollywood Boulevard. Marketers around the world today are aiming at getting a location or country featured in a movie, as the ultimate form of product placement. Hoteliers are investing into properties that have even the slightest connection to a top celebrity. This tourism industry banks on people’s emotions and desires, and their imaginations as well.