One in 10 foreign tourists visit the UK because they have fallen in love with a film location, according to a new study.
Three million of the annual 30 million international visitors are attracted by the beautiful settings of such hits as Harry Potter and Pride and Prejudice.
Film-induced tourism contributed £1.9bn to the UK economy last year, according to a study carried out by the Oxford Economics on behalf of the UK Film Council.
The most popular locations include Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, the setting for Hogwart’s School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in the Harry Potter films, and Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, setting for the Keira Knightley film The Duchess.
Miss Potter, the Renee Zellweger film about Beatrix Potter, prompted such an upsurge in visitor numbers from Japan that one Lake District firm now employs a full-time Japanese tour guide, reports The Telegraph.
“Films not only generate interest in a country but also act to remind people about what the country has to offer – for example by showcasing scenery and the culture on offer. Just as product placement of cars, computers, jewellery and so on in films and television programmes has grown, it is not surprising that ‘places’ are being featured in film on the same basis,” the report said.
“It is now also commonly acknowledged that film plays a major role in shaping external perceptions and the ‘brand’ of individual destinations, for example in Yorkshire, whose popular image mirrors its rich history in film, from Jane Eyre and The Railway Children, which evoke its famous rolling scenery, all the way to The Full Monty and The Damned United which reflect its dominant working class culture.”
Tourism chiefs are keen to promote tours based on movie locations. VisitBritain offers special itineraries based on the James Bond films and the recent Sherlock Holmes remake
Film London has created maps to the places featured in the Bridget Jones and Love Actually films, including Kensington Gardens, the Serpentine Gallery and Selfridges department store.
There is an iPhone app providing details of film locations throughout Britain.