By Sen. Grace Poe
Film Tourism is a growing phenomenon worldwide, fueled by both the growth of the entertainment industry and the increase in international travel. Several countries have already capitalized on the spiraling phenomenon of film tourism. Their governments, airline companies and tourism organizations have initiated measures to promote famous and even previously untapped destinations where the film was set as tourist attractions. South Korea, Turkey, Thailand, the United States of America, United Kingdom and New Zealand are some examples.
In their research entitled “Promoting Destinations via Film Tourism: An Empirical Identification of Supporting Marketing Initiatives” published in May 2006 in the Journal of Travel Research, Simon Hudson and J. R. Brent Ritchie cited increased tourist arrivals in destinations where famous films took place. As cited, the Wallace Monument in Scotland saw a 300% increase in visitors a year after the movie “Braveheart” was filmed which starred Mel Gibson in 1995. “The Lord of the Rings” franchise, filmed in New Zealand, also saw a steady increase of 10% in tourist arrivals from 1998-2003 from United Kingdom alone.
The following information are significant (the list of film titles, the film locations and the boost in tourism percentage):
Steel Magnolias, Louisiana (48% increase after release)
Harry Potter, Various Locations in United Kingdom (50% or more)
Mission Impossible 2, National Parks in Sydney (200% in 2001)
Last of the Mohicans, Chimney Rock Park. North Carolina (25% increase)
The Fugitive Dillsboro, North Carolina (11% increase)
Little Women Orchard House, Concord, Massachusetts (65% increase)
Bull Durham, North Carolina (25% increase)
The Beach, Thailand (22% increase in 2000). In particular, a previously unknown Koh Phi Phi in Thailand where The Beach was shot, instantly gained life and saw a surge in domestic tourism after the film.
But as the same study cited: “Despite the economic impact of film tourism, many tourism organizations have been slow to tap potential benefits of film tourism. The impacts of film tourism still appear to be underappreciated by destinations even though they can be long lasting and have significant long-term economic and social effects.”
Philippine tourism, for instance, could get a bigger boost through film tourism. In the past years, several foreign films have been shot in different places in the country, but little effort—if none at all—was done to capitalize on the growing phenomenon to boost tourism and increase economic activity in those place.
In 2008, Caramoan Islands in Camarines Sur was the location for the Survivior (French edition), followed by the Israel, Bulgaria and Serbia editions in 2009. The Sweden edition was shot in the same island in 2010, followed in 2011 by
the Denmark, Norway, Belgium and India franchises.
Evidently, there is a need for government support to ultimately present various destinations in the Philippines as prime tourist spots. Through film tourism, tourist arrivals could exceed official targets.
In 2012, the Department of Tourism recorded 4.27 million in tourist arrivals, compared with 3.92 million in 2011. In the first quarter of 2013 alone, the Philippines booked 1.27 million tourists.
It is against these backdrops that this legislation is submitted. And it speaks for itself. While a number of provisions and improvements may be made in the appropriate legislative phase, the early discussion of this bill is in order.
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