Lights, motor, action: destinations for movie tourists

Friday, 16 June 2017

Cinema thrills. Any kind of audiovisual product excites. And emotions flutter and inspire, they touch us deeply and lead us to act in a certain way.

That’s why tv series, movies and so on, are also «an instrument capable of influencing the perception and decision-making of a vast tourist demand», as Francesco di Cesare, Anthony La Salandra and Elena Craparotta write in the number three / 2010 of the Tourism Answers pages, dedicated to the potentiality of audiovisual productions in the tourism promotion of destinations.


Not all locations, however, become tourist destinations. «Quite useless is the general attitude of a spectator being influenced by images seen and deciding to take a vacation in those places, unless an organized, conscious, methodical and constant approach – therefore a strategic vision – of promotion that leverages that binomial (film and tourism) to gain new results in terms of attractiveness, satisfaction, and perhaps improve customer retention», the authors point out.

And which subjects should strategically leverage on the film and tourism binomial? The Film Production, the Film Commission and the Destination Management Organization (DMO), answer the experts of cineturismo, neologism coined by Michelangelo Messina, found and artistic director of the Ischia Film Festival (IFF), to express in Italian the English expressions film-induced tourism and movie-induced tourism.

You are not, therefore, the subjects involved in developing strategic visions able to transform a location into a tourist destination. Which does not mean that you do not have to equip yourself to provide solutions that meet the needs of cinema tourists coming to the agency. We think that it may be useful to know definitions, profiles and destinations of movie tourism.

Movie tourism, a definition

The movie tourism can be of different types, explains Astrid Pellicano, researcher of Political and Economic Geography at the Second University of Naples, in the study “The impact of cinema on tourism: The phenomenon of movie tourism” (Il Capitale culturale, University of the Studies of Macerata):

  • postcard: the desire of spectators to visit the places represented in history
  • participation in festivals, exhibitions, expositions during a specific time of the year
  • cult, the visit of museums of cinema, film studios and locations related to stars
  • business, related to the world of cinematographic activities.

Movie tourists, profiles

It is not easy to define a unique profile of movie tourist. Pellicano, in his work, recalls the profiles identified by Niki Macionis and Sue Beeton, this latter is considered by many to be the world’s largest film-induced tourism expert.

Macionis identifies three categories of movie tourist based on his motivations:

  • The general, the one who does not choose a set as a destination, but takes part in touristic activities organized by the tourist office in connection with the production and recording of the film in that territory (movie tour, guided tours)
  • The specific, the one who chooses the destination based on the movie seen and on the emotions that he experienced during the movie
  • The serendipitous, the one who comes by chance in the location of a movie and he is happy to be there.

Beeton identifies six categories of movie tourist:

  • on location, the visit of the location is the main reason for travel, they wish to make a sort of pilgrimage on the movie set and they would like to spy the houses of celebrities and actors
  • commercial, those looking for travel or guided tours on the locations of movies, organized by tourism associations or travel agencies
  • mistaken identities, those who visit the destinations they suppose movies have been filmed
  • off location, those who visit the locations or film studios during the shooting
  • one-off events, those who are interested in the world of events related to cinema
  • armchair travels, those who base a trip on what they see on television from travel and culture shows.

Destinations for the movie tourist

Here are the locations that have become tourist destinations. We are going to suggest some, with relevant resources to pack your travel proposals. Follow the evolution of the movie tourism market, because the destinations associated with the big and the small screen can increase in quantity and consistency. Have a look, from time to time, at The Movie Map and at the database.

Como and its surroundings, Italy


The celebrities of Lake Como (vol.1 and vol. 2)

To know all the places in the province of Como where the great films of Italian and international cinema were filmed.

Movie itineraries to discover the lake

To discover the movie sets of Lake Como, protagonists of numerous Italian and international films, commercials and television series

Lisbon, Portugal


Lisbon Movie Tour

A tour to discover or rediscover streets, corners, buildings and landscapes immortalized by the look of directors, actors and celebrities of the caliber of Wim Wenders, Sean Connery, Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich, Manoel de Oliveira, to name a few.

Auckland and Queenstown, New Zealand


Top 10 of the locations of New Zealand

To discover the movie sets of The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Last Samurai and other movies

Alnwick and its surroundings, United Kingdom


Castle of Alnwick

The fortress used to shoot the saga of Harry Potter and Robin Hood – Prince of Thieves

 Note: on Visit Britain, you can also find information and itineraries regarding Game of Thrones, King Arthur, Braveheart, Pride and Prejudice, Bridget Jones and other movies.

Other resources for destinations

We end our focus on cinema with some resources (in English) useful to get tips and to provide ideas and solutions to your customers.

Lights, motor, action: film-inspired trips in the USA

Edited by TTG Media

Trips in the USA inspired by movies

Film-inspired holidays

Edited by The Guardian

A series of articles on movie-inspired holidays.

Enjoy the journey with 6Tour!

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