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Tourism, Cinema and TV Series Conference

University of Lille, Friday 12th October 2018
Sarah Kelley

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The programme of the conference is available at:

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1A day conference on Tourism, Cinema and TV Series was held at the University of Lille on Friday 12th October 2018. Speakers from a variety of institutions in France and the UK presented their work in this field, creating a transnational discussion on the impact of cinema and TV tourism. This event was organised by Nathalie Dupont, Laetitia Garcia and Raphael Eppreh-Butet, who successfully put together a bilingual programme.

2During the welcome address, attendees were encouraged to consider the impact of film and TV tourism on various locations, giving examples such as The Warner Bros. Studio Tour – The Making of Harry Potter (films released 2001-2011), situated just outside London, and the Game of Thrones (2011-) attractions in Northern Ireland. Over the course of the day, speakers addressed the conference topic from a variety of perspectives: industrial, cultural and practical. The resulting discussions raised some particularly interesting points for debate regarding whether or not film and TV tourism has a positive impact on the local community.

3Opening the first panel of the day, Joseph Armando Soba (University of Lille) explored the attempts of some American states and cities to coax film and TV production away from their anchors in California and New York City via tax incentives. Analysing the effects of TV and film-induced tourism on the local economy, his paper raised questions regarding the true extent of its benefit. The second speaker on the panel, David Martin Jones (University of Glasgow), delved into issues of film tourism and transculturation by discussing the concept of floating heritage, referencing the Indian film Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara (2011). Produced in collaboration with the Spanish tourism agency, Zindagi tells the story of three non-resident Indian men on holiday in Spain as they indulge in local cultural activities. The following Q&A session explored issues of film tourism and cinematic colonialism, and whether Zindagi had transcended this.

4The second panel of the day opened with Cecilia Tirtaine’s (University of Nantes) paper on the British film industry. She discussed the British Film Commission’s efforts to attract Hollywood investment and the movie hotspots map on the VisitBritain tourism website. With this in mind, she raised questions regarding which version of Britain is being represented on screen - one for the tourist gaze perhaps? The following speaker, Manon Haag (University of Glasgow), explored the issue of cultural sustainability and screen tourism, drawing on the American TV series Outlander (2014-), which is set in Scotland. Her paper discussed the show’s use of existing Scottish heritage sites and the debates around whether the resulting screen tourism had diminished some of the sites’ true cultural meanings or if this had helped to sustain the history surrounding the location. Rounding off the panel, Jean-Yves Fremont, the Deputy Mayor of Dunkirk, gave a fascinating insight into the political and practical steps made to allow the Nolan blockbuster, Dunkirk (2017), to be filmed locally. He also discussed the results of local tourism surveys, adding to the day’s running debate regarding whether or not film and TV tourism has a positive impact on the community.

5The second half of the day conference opened with Rosemary Alexander-Jones’ (University of York) paper on the stately home of Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, UK, and its relationship with the multiple productions that have been filmed there. She discussed the House’s gift shop and the way it capitalises on Pride and Prejudice (2005), filmed there in 2004, through items such as DVDs, busts of Mr. Darcy and Jane Austen books. This created an interesting discussion around sites’ ability to situate themselves within a certain touristic narrative based on the productions they choose to host or emphasise. The following speaker, Charlotte Crofts (University of the West of England), spoke about the film tourism she has encouraged around the actor Cary Grant in his birthplace of Bristol, UK. As founding co-director of the biannual Cary Grant festival, she has put on events such as walking tours and immersive screenings in locations relevant to Cary Grant’s films or his real-life experiences. In this case, the focus has been on creating visceral experiences for Cary Grant fans rather than economic benefit from increased tourism to the city.

6Opening the fourth panel of the day, Joel Augros (Bordeaux Montaigne University) discussed multiple examples of film tourism and their varying impacts. He referred to The Sound of Music (1965), much of which was shot in and around Salzburg, Austria. Upon the film’s release it was a huge success in the USA but less so in Germany and Austria, leaving Salzburg locals surprised by the subsequent influx of foreign visitors eager to visit locations from the film. Drawing on The Beach (2000), he discussed the negative impact of film tourism: the local authorities’ closure of one of the film’s shooting locations, Maya Bay, due to the damage caused by tourists. Providing a more positive example, he explained that the Northern Ireland Screen Agency actively promotes Game of Thrones (2011-) filming locations to fans and has brought more than 77 million euros to the local economy. The second speaker of the panel, Corentin Daniel (University of St Andrews), discussed his work in mapping out Harry Potter (films released 2001-2011) filming locations and the difficulties faced when sets are only inspired by a site and not necessarily filmed there. In the case of Harry Potter, this has led to more than one site claiming inspiration for the same set and attempts to use this association to increase local tourism. For example, inspiration for Diagon Alley has been claimed in multiple sites: in Edinburgh, Exeter, London and York. When one also considers the Harry Potter theme parks in the USA and Japan and the specially created immersive sets at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour in London, this brings a new element to the idea of film and TV tourism since the real filming location is not a necessary aspect.

7Fittingly, the conference closed with a talk given by two representatives from the Lille-based Series Mania festival. This is an annual celebration and competition for French and International TV series, taking place in Lille over several days in March. The speakers discussed some of the features of the festival such as talks from industry stars, screenings and immersive experiences based on TV series. Its location, within easy access from London, Paris and Brussels, is an important feature and the influx of visitors it brings to the city is seen as particularly good for local tourism.

8As evidenced by the range of papers, the conference gave attendees an opportunity to explore the topic of film and TV tourism through a variety of lenses. Each speaker brought new insights to the ongoing discussion around the impact of film and TV tourism on local communities and the wider audience. The conference organisers plan to publish a special issue of InMedia magazine focusing on Tourism, Cinema and TV Series. This is scheduled for publication in December 2019.

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Référence électronique

Sarah Kelley, « Tourism, Cinema and TV Series Conference »Transatlantica [En ligne], 2 | 2018, mis en ligne le 01 février 2020, consulté le 06 mai 2021. URL : ; DOI :

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Sarah Kelley

University of Bristol

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Licence Creative Commons
Transatlantica – Revue d'études américaines est mise à disposition selon les termes de la licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International.

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