BY MICHAEL CHIMA EKENYERENGOZI
No one can deny the huge impact of the film industry on tourism, and the best example is Hollywood, the film capital of the world where film tourism is a billion dollar industry. Hollywood attracts millions of visitors each year as confirmed by the American Tourism Association. Millions of people travel from different parts of the world to visit Hollywood; to see the famous Hollywood Sign; to visit the major studios such as 20th Century Fox, Buena Vista, Walt Disney Studios and Miramax/Dimension Films, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, MGM (Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer), Warner Bros., New Line Cinema and Universal Studios; to see the Oscars of the annual Academy Awards, as well as the Golden Globes, and Emmys; and also the film festivals.
Millions of tourists visit the famous Hollywood Walk of Fame that is made up of more then 2,500 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks along 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard, and three blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood. The stars are monumental tributes to the icons of Hollywood; the famous actors, actresses, directors, producers, musicians, musical and theatrical groups, fictional characters, and others. The Hollywood Walk of Fame attracts over 10 million visitors annually. And Hollywood has made tourism the largest industry in Los Angeles County.
The following Hollywood blockbusters have attracted millions of tourists to their famous film locations as reported on Hollywood movies bring a boom in tourism in Thailand, New Zealand by The Times of India.
The Lord of the Rings: Middle-earth was recreated in New Zealand for the film franchise, which led to a boost in the tourism revenue in the country, with visitors planning tours just to visit locations where the films were shot. Since 2004, an average of 47,000 international visitors have visited these locations each year. Last year, 8.5% tourists surveyed in NZ cited The Hobbit movies as a factor in their interest to visit the country. Once in the country, 13% reported taking The Hobbit-inspired adventures such as the theme park, Hobbiton, near Matamata in the North
Harry Potter: Visitors to Alnwick Castle, Northumberland – Hogwarts in the first two Harry Potter films – have jumped 230% since 2011, pumping an extra £9 million (approximately `91,35,06,957) into the local economy, said a tourism marketing agency in the UK. Film-induced tourism contributed £1.9bn to the UK economy in the year 2009, according to a survey.
Mission Impossible 2: The release of the film in 2000 coincided with the doubling of visitors to Sydney, with 200% increase in visitors to national parks in the city. Ghost Protocol became a major promoter of tourism in Dubai.
The Beach: The film was shot in Koi Phi Phi in Thailand, which saw a 22% increase in young visitors looking for idyllic getaways in 2000.
Four Weddings And A Funeral: The popularity of the film led to the Crown Hotel in Amersham, home to the suite where Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell spent their first night together, to be completely booked for three years.
Brave Heart: Mel Gibson’s turn as William Wallace in the 1995 blockbuster war film turned the 1869-erected Wallace Monument in Stirling, Scotland, into a iconic tourist spot, even though the film wasn’t shot there, says a travel journal. The tourist spot wasn’t an economically successful one earlier, but the film’s release sparked a 300% increase in visitors.
Saving Private Ryan: Normandy, France saw a 40% increase in American tourists after this film, though it was primarily shot in Ireland.
Troy: Canakkale, Turkey, saw a 73% increase in tourism after the Brad Pitt film. This is another example of film-induced tourism where the place benefited from a film despite not being the location for filming.
Pride And Prejudice: According to UK’s Film Council, 2006’s Pride & Prejudice boosted Chatsworth’s visitors by 10% and Basildon Park’s by 75%. At Lyme Park in Cheshire – the scene of Mr Darcy’s appearance in a wet shirt in Pride and Prejudice on TV – the number of visitors increased from 32,852 in 1994 to 91,437 in 1995.
Crocodile Dundee: According to the Tourist Office of Queensland, Crocodile Dundee turned Australia into a popular spot. In the three years after its release, the number of visitors doubled.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty: Iceland garnered tourist attention like never before from this Ben Stiller movie. “Ben Stiller became an advocate for visiting the country, publicly declaring his awe of its beauty,” said Holte. Die Another Day was also shot in Iceland.
Eat, Pray, Love: Elizabeth Gilbert’s bestselling book had already fuelled a boom in tourism in Bali, and it increased further with the release of the film. More than 1.8 million foreigners arrived in Bali each year prior to the suicide bombings that killed 202 mostly foreign tourists in 2002, but in 2012, about three million people visited the island.
The following is a report from the American Tourism Association. Travel and tourism is one of America’s largest industries (2013 data):
• Generated $2.1 trillion in ECONOMIC IMPACT with $887.9 billion spent directly by domestic and international travelers that spurred an additional $1.2 trillion in other industries.
• Directly generated $133.9 billion in TAX REVENUE for local, state and federal governments.
• Each household would pay $1,093 MORE IN TAXES without the tax revenue generated by the travel and tourism industry.
• Direct spending by resident and international travelers in the U.S. averaged $2.4 billion a day,$101.4 million an hour, $1.7 million a minute, and $28,154 a second.
One of America’s largest service exports (2013 data)
• $180.7 billion in travel exports (including traveler spending in the U.S. and international passenger fare payments to U.S. carriers) and the…
• $123.6 billion in in travel imports (including U.S. residents’ spending abroad and international passenger fares paid to foreign carriers) creates…
• $57.1 billion in BALANCE OF TRAVEL TRADE SURPLUS for the U.S.
One of America’s largest employers (2013 data)
• Supported 14.9 million JOBS, including 7.9 million directly in the travel industry and 7.0 million in other industries.
• $209.5 billion in travel-generated PAYROLL for those employed directly in the travel industry.
• 1 of every 9 U.S. jobs is created directly or indirectly is induced by travel and tourism.
• Travel is among the TOP 10 INDUSTRIES in 49 states and D.C. in terms of employment.
In view of the comprehensive report with facts and figures on how much Hollywood contributes to boost American tourism, the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) and Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) should take advantage of the international popularity of Nollywood to use it as a vehicle for the promotion and appreciation of Nigerian tourism. But several critics have said that, unlike Hollywood, there is no specific location for Nollywood. But the critics are wrong, because the entire country of Nigeria is the location of Nollywood. There may not be any big film studio, except Tinapa Studios, and no “Nollywood Walk of Fame” at the moment, and no awesome movie sets; but Nollywood film producers can see the big picture – The big picture of using the best tourist attractions in Nigeria as locations for their movies as I have listed them on the Best Film Locations in Nigeria at http://totnaija.blogspot.com/
Nollywood has tourists attractions that can attract millions of tourists every year. Lancelot Imasuen’s epic “Invasion 1897” can attract millions of visitors to visit the great Benin Kingdom to see the awesome Iya, the Walls of Benin, regarded as the largest earthwork in the world; see the palace of the Oba of Benin and also see the sites of the great bronze artworks.
The film adaptation of Nobel Laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka’s “Ake The Years of Childhood” in Abeokuta is another epic that can boost international tourism by attracting tourists to Abeokuta in Ogun state.
Nigerian filmmakers should use the exotic tourist attractions in Nigeria for their film locations as we have seen in many Hollywood movies and Bollywood movies.
So, the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC) and Nollywood filmmakers should synergize in cooperation and support to produce movies that will boost the Nigerian film industry and tourism.
Michael Chima Ekenyerengozi is the Publisher/Editor of NOLLYWOOD MIRROR® SERIES.
This post first appeared on Indiewire but is published here with permission from the author.