How the landscapes of TV and Film are giving the UK tourist industry a boost

A few years ago, if you were to think of iconic filming locations, your imagination would be most likely drawn to an American based backdrop, perhaps the streets of Manhattan or the hypnotic lights of the Las Vegas strip.

After all, the film and TV industries are big business, and nobody does big business better than the USA.

Fast forward to 2019 however and film and TV fans are becoming more associated with backdrops familiar to the UK, with some of the industries hottest shows having scenes filmed in the streets of Ely or the shores of Northern Ireland.

The dominance of UK based programming was perhaps cemented as fact at this years Emmy awards, with 13 of the 27 winners having key British involvement. Game of Thrones, Killing Eve and Fleabag where among the winners which were all heavily filmed within the UK.

All this attention to the UK landscape is having a very positive affect on tourism numbers, and in turn for the UK economy!

Latest figures from the British Film Institute estimate that inbound tourists spent just under £600 millionin film-related tourism, with popular destinations associated with TV shows citing marked increases in visitor numbers.

In many cases, the impact on tourism has been substantial. For example:

  • Shibden Hall, as featured in the BBC show "Gentleman Jack", has seen its visitor numbers grow by an estimated 700%since the show aired.

  • In 2018, one in sixtourists visiting Northern Ireland said they were influenced by seeing various NI locations on "Game of Thrones".

  • After Ely Cathedralwas used to depict Westminster Abbey in the Netflix series "The Crown",visitor numbers to Ely have risen to nearly 4 million in the last three years.

This phenomenon of this influx of film and TV related visitors has justified its own sub-category of visitor, known fondly as “Screen tourists” or “Set-jetters”.

These visitors want to experience their favourite shows from a whole new perspective, with some travelling thousands of miles just to appear in the same vistas as their on-screen heroes. 

So, is this trend likely to continue?

Well, the signs look good for the screen tourism in the UK. Pinewood studios signed a 10-year lease of most of the world-famous Pinewood Studios back in September of 2019. This means some of the largest blockbuster films will be partly filmed and edited on our shores, meaning film fans will continue to be drawn to Britain.

There is also the matter of the acting and creative talent pool present in the UK currently. As the Emmys demonstrated, the UK is having a bit of a boon in terms of success lately, and with a myriad of exciting titles to premier in 2020, this could be just the beginning of a new era of British tv and film dominance.

Travelzoo, a global publisher of exclusive offers and experiences for members, has compiled research into screen tourism and the impact that film- and television-related tourism is having on the UK's economy and communities and what we can expect from this activity in future.

You can read more information on the screen tourism phenomenon on the Travelzoo website - https://www.travelzoo.com/uk/destinations/screentourism/