Film Tourism through the Ages: from Lumiere to Virtual Reality

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Since its initial presentation to mass audiences in the late 1800s, the medium of film underwent a myriad of adaptations across the 20th and 21st centuries impacting profoundly upon the viewers’ choice of travel and their tourism experiences. The chapter examines the influences and significance of film tourism though history starting with Lumiere brothers’ first screening in 1895, the impact of the 1940’s classics such as The Third Man, the appeal of Ireland to the American diaspora with the Quiet Man in the 1950s, through the newly found sexual liberation of the 60s and glorification (‘glamification’) of cities such as Rome, the firm establishment of Australia on the tourism map with the help of Crocodile Dundee in the 80s, the effect on Scottish tourism though the rise of the heroes in the 90s and finally entering the era of magic and mystery in the 2000s via Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter initially, then Game of Thrones from 2010 onwards. Although at first happening organically, from the 1940s to the 1980s, destinations soon started to realise the economical impact movies/series can have as was the case of Australia and Crocodile Dundee. Another significant turning point happened in the case of Scotland and the movie Braveheart where the setting of the production benefited more than the actual location. The decade starting in 2000 saw a renewed interest in the phenomenon of film tourism with the case of New Zealand and Lord of The Rings which triggered a large number of studies on the subject. Finally, the case of Northern Ireland and the success of the series of Game of Thrones not only showcased the huge impact movies/series can have on a rather unassuming destination but also paved the way for the future trends of film tourism. As part of the post-modernist discourse it is clear that the future of film tourism is linked to the advances in digital technology. As such, the growing influence of digital media on how the viewers, especially Generations Y and Z, consume their film/television content (through digital streaming services, on mobile devices, wearable tech, and evolving elements of AR, VR and holographic technology) will fundamentally change the nature of such content itself and in turn the impact it will have on the tourist of tomorrow. The chapter contributes to the overall discussion on tourism futures by identifying, mapping and analysing the key turning points in film tourism from a historical perspective culminating in the future trends that have already started to impact this industry.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Future Past of Tourism
EditorsIan Yeoman, Una McMahon-Beattie
Place of PublicationBristol UK
PublisherChannel View Publications/Multilingual Matters
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781845417093
ISBN (Print)9781845417062, 9781845417079
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 6 Dec 2019


  • film tourism
  • screen tourism
  • digital tourism
  • virtual reality
  • tourism
  • film
  • game of thrones
  • media


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