Cinema Tourism is Booming

Statue of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Austria, his birthplace.

Statue of Arnold Schwarzenegger in Austria, his birthplace.

Cinema Tourism (Set-Jetting) is a reality, and you only have to do the Math to realise that.

Following the release of Out of Africa, the number of visitors to Kenya increased by 500%, while visitors to the Wallace Monument rose by 300% following the release of Braveheart.

The Crown Hotel, Amersham, had to put up the ‘No Vacancies’ sign for three years following the hot, steamy scenes between Hugh Grant and Andy McDowell filmed there during Four Weddings and a Funeral. And the list goes on.

Spain has been slow to follow the trend, which is surprising considering that it is the non-English speaking country with most English language films ever shot; over 700 and still counting.

Bob Yareham’s book ‘Movies Made in Spain’ identifies the locations of 720 films and mini-series filmed partly or wholly in Spain and shot in English. There isn’t a country in the world (and one or two planets) that haven’t been represented by Spanish scenery and few directors or stars who haven’t worked in Spain.

But it’s been an uphill task; the authorities in Valencia, for example, have done nothing to take advantage of the filming of Tomorrowland with George Clooney and Hugh Laurie at the City of Arts and Sciences; the authorities at Trebuena, Cádiz tore down the Japanese POW camp built there by Steven Spielberg for Empire of the Sun, and with a few glorious exceptions, the making of all these films is not being harnessed by tourism entities in order to attract new visitors.

So it is hoped that a statue of Arnold, or even the presence of Terminator himself, will be the first step of a new and rewarding kind of tourism in Spain, one not dependent on sun, sea and sangria.

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Max Hartshorne

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