In Paris, Julia Kabalkin, 15, has her eyes wide open in front of the Terra Nova restaurant in the 5th arrondissement, a filming location for the series “Emily in Paris”. Arrived the same morning from Chicago, she discovers the French capital for the first time and has just taken a picture of herself in front of the door of the building where the heroine of her favorite series lives. “I surprised her with this tour. She didn’t know”, explains to AFP her grandmother, Robin Golden, who accompanies her and has not seen the internationally successful series telling the adventures of a young American in Paris.
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For a year, Fabien Buonavia has been offering this tour in the footsteps of Emily, lasting two to three hours, punctuated with historical anecdotes about Paris, “because if it’s just seeing the filming locations, they can do it themselves,” he said. The young man had this idea because he himself had “done the Sex and the City tour in New York”.
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The growing influence of audiovisual series on tourism
According to a study by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) conducted with the Netflix platform, the number of travelers choosing destinations linked to films and television shows doubled in the five years before the pandemic, reaching almost of 80 million people in 2019.
The film ‘Crocodile Dundee’ increased tourist visas to Australia by 40% between 1984 and 1989, says the report released in October. Between 2000 and 2006, the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy boosted annual visits to New Zealand by 40%.
And from 2011 to 2013, the “Harry Potter” series boosted the number of visitors to filming sites by 230%, injecting an additional 9 million pounds (9.96 million euros) into the economy. of the county of Northumberland (northern England).
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The rise of audiovisual tourism all over the world
In recent years, cheaper travel combined with the proliferation of platforms (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus, etc.) giving global visibility to series and films have amplified the phenomenon.
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In Paris, in addition to the two Americans, Fabien Buonavia had that day in his group, two other Americans, an Australian and two Koreans. One of them, Choonae Kim, 47, in transit between Cuba and Seoul chose to stop in Paris rather than London “for the Emily in Paris tour”. Tourist guide, she could be inspired by it back home.
In London, the “Harry Potter” magic still works. Delphine Dugué, 39, went especially to the studios located 1.5 hours from the English capital during the Ascension weekend, for the 10th birthday of her son Valentin. A gift postponed for two years due to a pandemic.
“He is a fan. Between nine and ten years old, he read all the books and then he watched the films,” she told AFP, satisfied with the visit: “the Gringotts bank, we have the feel like you’re in it, you’re in the movie!”. His companion Steven and his 8-year-old daughter Anna were not so lucky, the prices (94 pounds per ticket, 110 euros) being too high, they stayed in London.
Audiovisual tourism and mass tourism
This is the first time that Delphine Dugué has done audiovisual tourism. “Although, last summer in the Camargue, we waited in front of the gate of the series ‘Here everything begins’ to see the actors”, she admits.
Faced with the success of audiovisual tourism, the UNWTO warns against the other side of the coin, excessive crowds. As in Maya Bay in Thailand, a destination popularized by the film “The Beach” which had to close for a time to protect its ecosystem.
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Or like in Dubrovnik, Croatia, overwhelmed by ‘Game of Thrones’ fans re-enacting the ‘Walk of Shame’ through the city’s narrow streets.
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