Movies do more than just entertain us – they inspire us. Think of them as 120 minute advertisements that influence the way we choose to present ourselves, the lifestyles we hope to lead and the places we would love to visit. Some of the world’s biggest tourist attractions were once hidden gems, made popular by the successful movies they starred in. Now, people are happy to spend hard-earned cash travelling over long distances to visit the places where their favourite movies were brought to fruition. Check out some of our favourite movie destinations that you can actually visit…
Alnwick Castle, England– Harry Potter
Home of the Duke of Northumberland, Alnwick Castle has been used as a filming location for numerous movies and television programmes over the years, including The Black Adder, Star Trek: The Next Generation, Transformers: The Last Knight and perhaps most popular of all, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Some of Harry’s first scenes took place here, so the castle bears significance to Potterheads, reminding them of the simpler times before the story turned dark. It now symbolises Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry to millions of fans around the world. So much so that Alnwick offers Potter-inspired weekends allowing muggles to take part in magical experiences, including Broomstick Training lessons and tours of the castle in which memorable scenes from J.K. Rowling’s hit novels were brought to life.
The 8-film adaption is the second highest grossing franchise of all time, earning $7.7 billion in the box office – a figure high enough to make any travel business consider exploring the Potter market!
Skopelos, Greece – Mama Mia!
Built around songs by Swedish pop group ABBA, Mama Mia! tells the story of a woman’s quest to figure out who her father is using clues from an old diary that her mother kept.
Leading roles were snatched up by big Hollywood names such as Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Pierce Brosnan and Colin Firth, but the true star of the musical turned out to be the Aegean isle of Skopelos – the beautiful Greek island on which it was filmed.
Before the movie was released in 2008, Skopelos was known for its plum and almond orchards, wine production, beekeeping and honey production. But now, local travel agents are inundated with requests to be wed on the island. It seems that couples quite like the idea of saying their vows under the summer sun on a peaceful, green island – who would have known?!
Maya Bay, Thailand – The Beach
Located on the uninhabited island of Phi Phi Leh, Maya Bay found fame when it was used as the filming location for The Beach. In the movie, Leonardo DiCaprio embodied Richard – an American backpacker on an adventure to a mystical paradise in the middle of nowhere.
And the paradise is truly breath-taking. Surrounded by karst mountains, pristine sands and crystal-clear water, the scenic Maya Bay is still attracting tourists almost 20 years after the film’s release. In fact, tourists can book day trips to visit the island from surrounding islands at almost any time of the year.
We’re still not sure if tourists love Maya Bay because of its beautiful beach, or because Leo once stepped foot in its sands. Either way, it’s something that everyone should experience!
Hobbiton, New Zealand – Lord of the Rings & The Hobbit
Hobbiton (aka the Shire) is the place that the Hobbits of J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy world call home. It’s the only set that wasn’t taken down after filming ended, and it’s a must-see for travellers passing through New Zealand. Some have cited that Hobbiton has been an influencing factor when choosing New Zealand as a holiday destination.
Touring through the 12-acre set is an experience that appeals to both hardcore fans and those that haven’t seen the films or read the books at all. This is because of the beautiful scenery, the Mill, the Hobbit Holes and the famous Green Dragon Inn. Fans (and non-fans) can expect to experience all of this on the tour, along with interesting stories, accounts of how the movies were filmed and a huge feast (with second helpings encouraged) at the very end!
Next time you feel guilty for watching a movie on a lazy day, keep your eyes peeled and call it work. What you see could be the next venture for your travel business!
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