Tourists flocking to see locations of TV productions
İZMİR - Cihan News Agency
After the horse sculpture in Brad Pitt’s film ‘Troy’ was brought to Çanakkale, the number of tourists visiting the site increased by 73 percent.Seeking to transform itself from a locality known for its sun, sea and sand to a destination with diverse options for tourists, Turkish officials are hoping to capitalize on the popularity of the country’s TV shows in attracting more visitors.
Gökçe Özdemir, a professor at Yaşar University’s Tourism Management Department, said film and TV drama tourism was a new opportunity for Turkey and that the shooting of Hollywood films in the country had been instrumental in promoting the country.
After a horse sculpture used in Brad Pitt’s historical blockbuster “Troy” was brought to the northwestern province of Çanakkale, the number of tourists visiting the site increased by 73 percent.
At the same time, the number of tourists coming from countries where Turkish TV dramas are shown has also increased by 15 percent since the shows went on air.
Özdemir said cinema and TV productions reflected the natural and historical structure of the places in which they are filmed and could contribute to an area’s tourist potential.
“Many local, government and tourism authorities try to persuade foreign and local producers to make their productions in their own region. Tourism and economic earnings from films and TV dramas have reached big numbers. For example, ‘The Lord of the Rings’ made a contribution of $2 billion to New Zealand. Thanks to this film, visitor numbers reached 2.4 million in the country, good for a 50 percent increase. Following the film ‘Braveheart,’ visitors to the Wallace Monument in Scotland increased by 300 percent. Thanks to ‘Mission: Impossible 2’ national parks in Sydney saw 200 a percent increase in 2000. According to research in Britain, 80 percent of Brits have a tendency to go to the destinations they see,” she said.
The professor said the effect of Turkish dramas in tourism started in 2002 with “Asmalı Konak” (Asmalı Mansion). “From the first day of its broadcast, Cappadocia, especially Ürgüp and the historical mansion where the drama was shot, became a kind of museum and attracted a rush of domestic tourists. All tour operators included this mansion in their tour programs. Although 10 years have passed since the drama ended, demand has decreased but still continues. Cities like Mardin and Gaziantep have become very popular among tour operators thanks to some dramas. They organize accommodation in the hotel where characters had dinner.”
Turkish dramas increase tourist number
Özdemir said the recent success of the Turkish drama sector had been noted around the world. “We sell dramas that run thousands of hours to 102 countries. Especially the ones like ‘Muhteşem Yüzyıl’ [The Magnificent Century] have positive effects on tourism demand from the Balkans and Arab countries. There has been a 15 percent increase in the number of tourists visiting from countries that watch Turkish dramas. For example, the eastern Black Sea was visited by nearly 35,000 Arab tourists two years ago; 170,000 Arabs came to the region in 2013.”
According to Özdemir, thanks to its cultural richness, history and nature, Turkey has also become a platform for high-budget Hollywood productions. “Most recently, Russell Crowe’s ‘The Water Diviner’ was shot in Turkey. Eighteen films including ‘Skyfall,’ ‘Argo’ and ‘Taken 2’ were also shot in Turkey,” she added.
She said İzmir and the Aegean region were advantageous for films and dramas. “We see that many popular films have been shot in İzmir or Aegean. Films like ‘Babam ve Oğlum’ [My Father and My Son], ‘Susuz Yaz’ [Dry Summer] or some dramas are among them. Çeşme’s Ildırı village, where the first scenes of the drama ‘Fatmagül’ün Suçu Ne’ [What is Fatmagül’s fault] were shot, attracted a rush of visitors. İzmir has many alternatives with its 300 days of sunny weather, history, nature, villages and touristic places.”