On Monday 29 October MovieTravel and Pompeu University Fabra of Barcelona (UPF) organized a seminar aimed to tackle the phenomenon of the Movie Tourism from an academic, cultural and public and private management point of view. The seminar included a series of speeches and a round table in which professionals from the tourism and cinema industries spoke discussed the management of movie tourism. The event is part of a dissemination campaign launched by MovieTravel, following its aim to lay the foundations for a cultural and sustainable movie tourism model in Europe.  

The cinema’s influence on the notion of heritage, the benefits that movie tourism can bring to the economies of southern Europe or the type of destinations that could be part of the itineraries that will be launched by MovieTravel were some of the topics discussed during the seminar. The journalist Josep Maria Palau took the floor to explain how cinema, heritage and cultural tourism intertwine in the project. He did it as the CEO of the communication agency Inmedia Solutions, partner of the international consortium that runsMovieTravel. ”The UNESCO heritage brand is already attractive. But being able to visit a UNESCO site knowing that it has been part of the history of a good movie is even more so. Therefore, we have a win-win”, said Palau.  A market study released by the University of Malta confirms it. Her author, Dr. Giusy Cardia, remarked that communities that have decided to promote this type of tourism are benefitting from this strategy both culturally and economically.

Throughout the seminar, several researchers and professionals from the film and tourism industries discussed how the tourist model proposed by MovieTravel should be articulated. The dean of the Faculty of Communication, the cinema expert Jordi Balló, proposed to work in that model by putting the films in the fist place. “It is cinema what should lead us to discover – and enjoy discovering – the heritage,» said the dean. From there on, the promotion of film tourism should be used as a tool to «attract the type of tourism we want”, said the executive director of the Catalan Tourism Agency, Patrick Torrent. That strategy has already been successfully implemented in countries such as Ireland, where several scenes of the Thrones Game have been shot, or Austria. There, the palace that appears in the movie Sissi or the streets surrounding the police station of Inspector Rex receive daily visits form overseas tourists. The marketing director of the Austrian National Tourism Board in Spain, Blanka Trauttmansdorff, explained this. Daniel Mochales, from Turkish Airlines, agreed that campaigns involving audiovisual productions have a great impact on audiences.

‘Made in Barcelona’

For years, destination branding has been a subject of study at the Faculty of Communication of UPF, pioneer in the creation of a barometer that measures the quality of tourism destination’s online platforms. Yesterday the professor and researcher José Fernández Cavia described the features of this barometer, emphasizing the weight that the promotional content has for the tourist when he chooses which destination he is going to travel.

The Catalan Film Commission was also present in the seminar. Its director, Carlota Guerrero, shared experience as a producer choosing shooting locations. Although she admitted that the tourist potential of a destination is not something that the industry takes into account when determining where a movie is filmed, Guerrero has revealed that certain locations arouse a special interest that is not necessarily related to the facilities that they offer. «The series Nit i dia, shot in Barcelona, has opened the door to new ways of doing. Also El pacto. The both offer a new look on the ground”, said Guerrero. This merges with the traditional attraction that Barcelona’s heritage has exerted on the filmmakers. The final scene of the acclaimed one Incerta Glòria, by Agustí Villaronga, was recorded in the modernist building of the Hospital de Sant Pau.