Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Fans as Tourists

A report by the United Kingdom Film Council has found that literary tourism is worth over £6 billion a year for the UK. The report, Stately Attraction: How Film and Television Programmes Promote Tourism in the UK (PDF 816 KB) describes a cross between fan fiction and cosplay where tourists 'step into' sites of fiction and, of course, spend money. Some of the figures are amazing:

Alnwick Castle, the location for Hogwarts, saw a 120% rise in visitor numbers following the release of Harry Potter. The films are estimated to have brought in £9 million in tourist revenue to the area. The trend was mirrored in other locations used in the film: Gloucester Cathedral’s visitor numbers rose by 50% following the release of the first of the Harry Potter films.

Burghley House saw a 20% rise in visitor numbers following its use in the film Pride and Prejudice while coach tours at Basildon Park went up 76%.

Lyme Park – the scene of Mr Darcy’s wet-shirt scene in the TV series of Pride and Prejudice - saw visitor numbers almost triple from 32,852 in 1994 to 91,437 in 1995. Ten years later the tourism effect remains.

Lincoln Cathedral saw a 26% rise in visitor numbers, Rosslyn Chapel a 33% increase and Temple Church, London, a five-fold rise following the release of the The Da Vinci Code.

Notting Hill gave international prominence to an area of London relatively unknown outside the city. The film provoked a huge and lasting influx of tourists searching for the famous ‘blue door’ and inspired a number of specialist guided walks.
Gosford Park sparked a renewed interest in Victorian and Edwardian historic houses. Pollok House in Glasgow where guests can dine in Victorian kitchens recorded a 20% rise in visitors and Beningbrough Hall which has a fully equipped Victorian laundry saw numbers increase from 10,218 to 94,032 in a year.

Children’s programme Balamory had a dramatic effect on the village of Tobermory whose permanent population is just under 1,000. 2003 brought 160,000 extra visitors to the island, a rise of 40% on the previous year with Oban’s Tourist Information Centre topping 700,000 enquiries – the busiest in Scotland. VisitScotland estimated that the series contributed £5million a year to the tourist economy of Mull and the Western Islands. Businesses had to adapt from the senior market to toddler tourism with child-friendly menus and nappy changing facilities. UK Film Council

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