The six Labs of MovieTravel have already been held in Nicosia (Cyprus), Valletta (Malta), Athens (Greece), Genoa (Italy), Lion (France) and Barcelona (Spain). From 23 April to 15 July, more than 200 agents of the tourism and audiovisual sector in Europe have had the opportunity to discover firsthand the film itineraries created by MovieTravel in European capitals with UNESCO heritage. Film Commissions, tourism offices and film festival organizations have collaborated with the FAMOUS consortium to make out of these workshops a forum for reflection and debate on innovative tourism, defining the role of cinema in territorial promotion.

Labs debates have allowed the actors involved in the MovieTravel project to take the pulse of the industries that will collaborate in the definitive deployment of the film routes of the project. Their concerns, observations and notes were taken up by the partners of the FAMOUS consortium. For their part, the speakers from the labs gave a broad and solid vision of the project’s foundations, and advanced some of its most outstanding news. We review the hottest six discussions of the six labs.

1. What does the film lover chase when he or she travels?

«Cinemaphiles travel to remember. To get to them, you have to start by designing an experience that responds to these needs, putting emotions first,» explained tourism expert Cristina Lambiase in the labs of Malta, France and Italy. Lambiase highlighted how important is for this audience to be able to connect locations and communities with what they represent and look like on the small and the big screen. Cinemaphiles or film buffs are regular consumers of blogs and content related to the audiovisual and cultural industries. Thus, these channels are excellent means for them to know and feel encouraged to participate in screen tourism experiences. Later, they can become digital ambassadors of the project through their own social media profiles.

2. What does the academia think of MovieTravel?

At the Valletta lab, organized by the University of Malta, researchers and experts in tourism emphasized the need to «strike a balance» between trends and the need to develop sustainable tourism models, explains researcher and professor Karsten Xuereb. «Branding and advertising campaigns must be sensitive to the realities of today and address in an honest and novel way the experiences, from which must highlight the elements of quality, surprise and curiosity,» notes Xuereb. Knowing what locals think of this type of experience –knowing their position before proceeding to its implementation– can be key to ensuring the success of this objective. Because the purpose is not only to please the one who comes, they stress, but to be welcomed by those who are part of the network on which projects like MovieTravel rely to become a model of success.

3. Why do we rely on storytelling & audiovisuals for territorial promotion?

«Considering the overexposure of data to which the public is subjected in social media platforms, we must find a unique formula to guarantee a sufficient impact of the dissemination strategies of our heritage», explained Ivan de Cristóbal, creative director of AfterShare TV and speaker at the Barcelona lab. De Cristobal presented the results of the project Legends of Catalonia, an initiative that culminated in the launch of a video game inspired by the myths of the Spanish region of Catalonia. Its aim was to capture the attention of the English and American audiences at a time when the public overexposure to images (especially via Intagram) poses a fierce competition to the traditional forms of tourism promotion. More than 210.000 people have already downloaded Legends of Catalonia since its launch.

4. Does gamification restrict the target of innovative tourism products?

Gamification does not limit the potential audience of innovative tourism products, because neither video games, nor movies, nor virtual experiences are the exclusive heritage of an age group, according to the data. In the case of MovieTravel, explained Inmedia CEO Josep Maria Palau in the Barcelona Lab, incorporating a technological solution to the routes helps to attract a target that, at the outset, may not feel so much interest in history or heritage. This is the case with younger visitors. «If we find the way to get to them, we will have gained a lot in terms of promotion, because those people have many years and many trips ahead. They are the ones who will build the model of sustainable tourism that we want for the future,» concluded Palau.

5. What are the keys to a good movie route?

Cypriot Vice President Top Kinisis, Elena Tanou, gave the assistants of the Labs of Cyprus, Malta and Athens four indications and a recommendation in this regard. The first step must always be the identification of the points of interest of the cities involved, with the collaboration of local authorities. Afterwards, a discourse should be developed considering what is remarkable from each site. The aim is to create an attractive content, both in substance and form. Plus, it is important to measure the times. The good route is the one that shows you everything that is there, in a way that you can see it with sufficient time. Once established, it is essential to include an extract of offers from third parties, such as museums, theatres or leisure spaces, always in line with the route theme. The recommendation was, of course, to listen to the local communities, gather their opinions and incorporate them both in the way the routes are promoted and in the way they are deployed.

6. Which bloggers will collaborate with MovieTravel?

The Canadian blogger Christina Guan – with more than 32.000 followers on Instagram –, and the creator of audiovisual content Denis Strickner will start collaborating with MovieTravel this summer. German by adoption, Guan is passionate about European culture and heritage, topics she writes about in her blog Happy to Wander from an independent and inspiring perspective. Strickner began filming his trips in 2012, when he visited Bolzano (Italy), and since then he has worked before and behind the cameras for multiple platforms and tourist offices around the world. Together, they will bring the essence of UNESCO heritage in European cinema to the screens of all their followers. The names of the bloggers were announced in the MovieTravel labs and the attendees largely applauded their multimedia profiles, coupled with their experience in cultural and territorial promotion.