VisitBritain rolls out film campaign

National tourism agency, VisitBritain has launched a new film tourism campaign ahead of the release of The Golden Age, starring Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush and Clive Owen. Receiving its premiere on 23 October and on general release from 2 November, the follow-up to Elizabeth follows the life of Queen Elizabeth I and features a wealth of English locations. Tourism bosses expect it to draw international and British visitors to iconic and heritage attractions throughout Britain.

Produced by Working Title Films and distributed by Universal Pictures worldwide, a dedicated website, www.visitbritain.com/goldenage features a downloadable map of locations, film synopsis and link to the trailer, six different touring itineraries, a picture gallery and inspirational information on Britan’s ‘golden age of now’ for contemporary art, culture and taste. Potential visitors will also be able to buy merchandise and book tickets to attractions associated with Elizabethan times.

Eleven film locations on the map include Brean Down in Somerset, Berkshire’s Dorney Court, St John’s College Cambridge, and Ely, Wells, Westminster and Winchester Cathedrals. A further 15 Tudor locations and three royal destinations are also featured where international tourists can save money with VisitBritain’s Great British Heritage Pass. The Pass allows international visitors free entry at around 600 attractions throughout England, Scotland and Wales and is a key element of the campaign.

Film tourism or ‘set-jetting’ is an increasingly popular holiday option. With 40% of potential visitors “very likely” to visit places from films or TV, VisitBritain expects the appearance of British locations in the film to help encourage many more visitors. The Golden Age campaign will have particular appeal in America where visits have fallen by five per cent so far this year and Britain’s castles and historic properties, pomp and ceremony have a strong appeal.

Tom Wright, chief executive of national tourism agency VisitBritain, says: “This is a major opportunity for us to remind visitors - and Americans particularly - of one of the enduring appeals of our destination. Our heritage properties and the intrigue of centuries of royal history are just a couple of reasons why Britain remains the sixth most visited destination in the world. The Great British Heritage Pass also demonstrates that Britain is value-for-money.

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“Set-jetting is a great way of marketing a destination and Britain’s popularity as a location for many of the biggest films has helped VisitBritain to lead the way in capitalising on this ‘screen magic’. If the right film is chosen, it acts as free advertising for a destination, location or attraction; shown to millions of people around the world and whenever they watch the DVD. Showcasing destinations through film helps maintain the enduring popularity of our beautiful landscapes and countryside, centuries of history, iconic characters, actors and actresses and literary greats.”

Every year millions of visitors from Britain and overseas enjoy places and events associated with the royal family and earlier kings and queens. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of potential international and British visitors would be very likely to visit castles and stately homes on a visit to Britain. The top five royal attractions in the country alone accounted for 4.2 million visits last year - an 11% increase on the previous year and proving interest in Britain’s royal heritage and pageantry is showing no signs of waning.

The campaign runs in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the USA and the UK. VisitBritain has partnered with Hilton, the Leisure Pass Group and, in the USA, Trafalgar Tours. A series of three-day itineraries with Hertz take travellers on journeys through England, Scotland and Wales visiting places as varied as Northamptonshire, York and Carlisle, Cambridge and Suffolk, the Wye Valley and Stirling.

VisitBritain has pioneered film tourism’s huge potential. Over the past decade it has developed a pedigree for working with movie studios, distribution companies and major motion pictures, as well as the media and tourism partners, to increase visits to Britain and raise the value of the £85 billion visitor economy. The organisation has produced a series of hugely successful movie-maps for The Da Vinci Code, King Arthur, Master and Commander, Johnny English and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, as well as for Bollywood films, Hollywood blockbusters and ‘Brit-flicks’. It now has dedicated film tourism offices in Los Angeles and Mumbai.

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