Travelers are being inspired to visit destinations they have seen on screen. According to a travel trends report, 66% of travelers have considered trips to destinations based on a movie or TV show they’ve streamed. Thirty-nine percent already have their trips booked.
The travel trends report by Expedia also reported that advice from friends and family topped streaming services by only 2%. And with such a significant impact on travel decisions, tourism agencies are dedicating more advertising dollars to streaming services.
TV tourism is not a new trend, with 96% of Americans reporting they’ve already visited places associated with their favorite TV show at least once in their lifetime. The same report revealed that 78% of Americans would likely go on a tv or movie-themed trip in 2023.
How TV-Inspired Travel Can Empower Local Economies and Foster Cultural Awareness
TV tourism, or tourists visiting a destination after learning about it on a TV show, can have many benefits for a destination. It can boost the local economy by increasing tourism and spending. It can also increase cultural awareness as visitors learn about the destination’s history, traditions, and way of life.
According to the french magazine L’Express, Netflix shows like “Emily in Paris,” “Lupin,” and “Marseille” have boosted tourism in France. Let’s use “Emily in Paris” as an example. We’ve seen everything from local businesses to Paris landmarks and even French fashion featured in the show.
Paris’ tourism office offers a list of main filming locations you can visit based on the show, while Instagram accounts like @emilyinparisoutfit have become wildly popular. With so much influence and exposure, it’s no wonder France has seen a boost in tourism.
“Bridgerton” is another excellent example of tv-inspired tourism. Since the popular show hit Netflix in 2020, “Bridgerton”-themed tours through London have become all the rave. In 2022, Netflix partnered with The Lanesborough, a luxury hotel in London, to offer a “Bridgerton” themed afternoon tea.
The famous “Twilight Saga” essentially put Forks, Washington, on the map. A study on post-film tourism stated, “The visitor economy of Forks now clearly relies upon a niche form of tourism – as fans of The Twilight Saga are drawn to the setting and filming location of the films.”
Northern Ireland reported that the economic benefits of tv tourism after the popular show “Game of Thrones” was undisputed, contributing to 350,000 visitors and over £50 million for the local economy in 2018.
While TV tourism can offer visitors an authentic experience and boost a destination’s economy, some negative impacts of tv-inspired tourism should be considered.
The Cost of Fame: Unpacking the Negative Impacts of TV-Inspired Tourism
TV tourism can lead to overcrowding and over-tourism, especially for smaller destinations that may not have the infrastructure or resources to accommodate an increase in visitors.
Additionally, TV tourism can become a nuisance for property owners as tourists flock to their homes to snap a photo for Instagram. TV-inspired tourism can also lead to a rise in the vandalism of cultural landmarks that are hundreds of years old.
Recently, Harry Potter fans have been asked to stop polluting a beach in Wales, the location of Dobby’s grave, with socks. The news report states that so many socks have been left at the grave site that it has become an environmental concern.
The “Breaking Bad” meth house, now privately owned, remains a popular spot for tourists; however, the owners have reported things being taken from or thrown at the property. Similarly, the murder house from “American Horror Story” has reported overcrowding and break-ins.
Bronx residents have become annoyed by tourists stopping to take photos on the set of steps made famous by the movie “Joker.” The stairs sit between two apartment complexes and are frequented by locals.
Visitors to San Francisco are crowding walkways and blocking traffic to see the location of the “Full House” sitcom and sequel. Local residents have said on a good day, you can expect about 50 people, but on a good weekend, there could be close to 100.
Photo Credit: [@oneinchpunch/DepositPhotos]
Alexandrea Sumuel is a travel writer and the founder of the Wander With Alex travel blog, where she provides vacationers and travel enthusiasts with trip ideas, travel guides, news, and itineraries. She travels to experience, eat, and explore-- and, on occasion, escape! Alex’s mission is to help people travel a little easier.