VisitBritain is luring in film buffs from around the world ahead of its 2024 tradeshow

Cinema in UK  Movie clapperboard on UK flag background
Edited by Travel Weekly


    When it comes to places to visit, the UK doesn’t need an introduction. Its red telephone boxes, iconic landmarks and (increasingly) ‘eclectic’ Royal family make it one of the most recognisable countries in the world.

    For Australian visitors in particular, the countryside and (of course) the pubs are always of particularly strong appeal.

    “They like food, of course, but also city life. And the fact that Britain is so small compared to Australia, you can get multiple experiences and indeed multiple experiences all in one day”.

    In recent years, however, there’s something else about the UK that is attracting the eyes of tourists: British storytelling.

    It is no secret that film and TV tourism is booming the world over. Instigated by the success of global video streamers such as Netflix, more and more audiences than ever before want to visit places from their favourite films and TV shows. Forbes estimated that a shocking 96 per cent of people have visited somewhere due to a film or TV show they like.

    If there is one country perfectly poised to take advantage of this trend, it is Britain. Often called the home of storytelling, 23 per cent of high-end film and television shows are shot in the UK (more than California) and three out of five of the biggest film franchises in the world were made in Britain.

    It is a trend Patricia Yates, CEO of VisitBritain is well aware of.

     Visit Britain, Patricia Yates. (Rachel Adams/The Times/News Licensing)

    “Great film locations really drive visitors,” she told Travel Weekly. 

    “We’ve got global icons, like James Bond and Harry Potter that connect across the world. We’ve worked with James Bonds before, not so much in locations, but the James Bond lifestyle. You can come here and you can have cocktails and you can have a suit made and then of course Skyfall was made in Scotland so it was great to be able to capitalise on that.”

    The British government has really made a push in recent years to promote filming in the UK – not only do filmmakers face generous tax cuts but there are several large studios such as Pinewood within close proximity to London.

    “It’s a really virtuous circle,” Yates continued.

    “The global platforms have really made a difference. You’ve got Bridgerton on Netflix for example and its got global appeal. It isn’t shown on the BBC and then two years later, you’ll suddenly find it crops up in another market. These are global from the beginning”.

    In terms of marketing, Yates says one of the most effective ways of selling the UK is to have some of the stars themselves talking about what they love about Britain.

    “We want to work with the British Film Commission because we want to get in early and talk to the stars while they’re still in Britain.”

    VisitBritain is gearing up to welcome more than 120 international travel buyers for a series of educational visits across Britain, as part of its flagship ‘Showcase Britain 2024’ trade event.

    The educational visits, under way from 27 January, are a mix of three-to-five-day itineraries to destinations across England, Wales and Scotland, showcasing to buyers and travel media the latest tourism products across Britain and the fresh and exciting experiences for visitors to come and enjoy this year.

    (Featured image: Cinema in UK Movie clapperboard on UK flag background. [iStock – nobtis])

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