The Outlander tourism boon: What other filming locations can learn

OutlanderThere’s a chance that you’ve seen some of the headlines over the past couple of days: Scotland experienced a record high amount of tourism in 2017 from foreign visitors. Are there a number of reasons for that? Sure, in between its natural beauty and a really smart promotional campaign by Scotland’s own tourism board.

Yet, Outlander is one of the key factors often attributed and that makes sense. It’s an increasingly-mainstream show that showcases and celebrates the country in a wide array of different ways. It also carries with it such romantic charm and a sense of escapism that viewers want to imagine themselves there … at least at the times in which there aren’t characters killing each other.

What we want to focus on here mostly is what lessons there are for other filming locations to learn from Outlander, since there has to be some sort of model that can be followed … right? We like to think that there is for many different reasons.

1. Scotland embraces Outlander – We do think there is, at times, a resistance by certain locations to embracing productions happening there, whether it be because the show / movie is fictional or it doesn’t match the identity that they have established for the place. Yet, why shy away from promoting it? Tourists are tourists, and if they are going to bring in money, it feels like this should be embraced. We think there is more that Northern Ireland could do, for example, with Game of Thrones. An example of another region doing things right is in British Columbia, where for many years an area near Vancouver doubled for Storybrooke on Once Upon a Time. They’ve turned it into a real tourism hub for fans of the show.

2. Scotland also offers resources for visitors – There are ways in which you can get official maps of popular filming locations and, beyond that, there are plenty of touring companies that work specifically to showcase different iconic spots in the area. They’ve prepared themselves appropriately for fans of Outlander and want tourists to feel like they are welcomed and embraced. Also, they don’t want them to feel lost.

We know that it can be nerve-wrecking to welcome in strangers, but the majority of them want nothing more than to embrace and celebrate your home!

3. Scotland embraces filming – In many ways, building tourism has to start from the jump in getting networks / studios to want to shoot on a local level. That’s why we think things like tax incentive programs are valuable since you may be able to make money for many years to come. Bet on your own ability as a region to leverage filming for monetary gain. It’s better than shutting off filming locations, losing jobs and also future opportunities for growth.

Are other shows going to be able to capture the oft-romantic essence of Outlander that helps to make Scotland such a destination? Not necessarily, but they can at least get started on the road to success.

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What do you think other filming locations can do to follow the lead of Outlander and Scotland? Share below!

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