Tourism in India got a shot in the arm by the movies over decades. The picturesque locations across the country got boosted by the films from Bollywood, Tollywood or Kollywood.
Indian film, which is without a doubt the most lucrative segment of the media and entertainment sector, has significantly contributed to the growth of tourism in India. From travelling abroad to exploring the unknown beauty of India, the Indian film industry has influenced tourists from outside India as well as Indian citizens to pack their bags and explore. Tourism that is brought about by a place or attraction appearing on film, video, or television is known as “film tourism.” Film tourism, which is broadly categorized as cultural tourism and is on the rise all over the world as a result of both the expansion of the entertainment sector and the rise in international travel.
The audience has continually been drawn in by Indian films (mainly Bollywood) glamour. Like, Airbnb started a marketing effort with actors Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan, aware of the type of influence they would have on the audience, inspiring people to travel and utilize Airbnb’s services. This trend has been for a while; in 1995, when Yash Chopra’s blockbuster hit “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge” was released, there was a 30% rise in outbound travel from India to Switzerland.
People all over the world are influenced to visit new places by the kinds of movies they see. Many times, the enormous influence that film may have on culture is disregarded. While it can encourage travel, it can also affect one’s psyche and way of thinking. We frequently undervalue movies as only a disposable kind of entertainment, but it has been consistently demonstrated over the years that the visual medium has the power to change people’s perspectives on the world and themselves.
Indian films promoting outbound tourism
The outstanding coming-of-age movie “Zindagi Milegi Dobara (2011) by Zoya Akhtar was an immediate hit. Research revealed that it really caused an increase in outbound tourism because young people resonated with the movie’s themes. Spain has become a well-liked travel destination among Indian households thanks to the movie. The nation and the way it had been depicted in the movie left Indian audiences in awe. Travel companies started creating packages that included the well-known locations from the movie. People wanted to experience what they saw for themselves since it piqued their interest so much.
For many years, Bollywood films have frequently featured in the UK, US, and Australia. In fact, rather than only serving as picturesque scenery, they are frequently included in the story as characters. But more and more new and unexplored places are being shown to Indian people. Imtiaz Ali utilized Corsica as the backdrop for two strangers to fall in love in his movie “Tamasha.” We saw Ireland and Cuba in the spy thriller “Ek Tha Tiger” by director Kabir Khan, starring superstar Salman Khan. Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol’s “Dilwale,” directed by Rohit Shetty, travelled all the way to Iceland to record a love song.
Many movies, such as “Jab We Met” and “Yeh Jawaani Hai Deewani,” portray travel as a life-changing experience. The film’s subject of travel serves as a means for the characters to learn more about who they are rather than just a story element. This in turn has increased the desire for travel among many Indians, who now regard it as a means to learn new things about themselves and embark on trips they will never forget.
Indian films promote the beauty of Indian tourist places
The strength of Hindi film is limitless. Today’s filmmakers are more drawn toward depicting India in its raw state. Many movies show Indian tourist places and sometimes some hidden places of India which is enough to draw sizable foreign tourists to visit these places and inspire Indian people to explore their own country.
Out of the numerous locations that become popular tourist destinations, people get to visit new areas. Like how Indian cinema influences the travel and tourism industry in India is located about 150 kilometres from Jaisalmer city and close to the Longewala battleground of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. It is said that many bombs fell onto this holy land of the temple during the war but none of them detonated.
Another example of an Indian movie showing raw India, a brutal depiction of rural life, “Pather Panchali,” a 1955 Bengali drama film directed by Satyajit Ray, was filmed in Boral, a small village outside of Kolkata, close to Garia in South 24 Parganas. The film, which showed the hard village life of a poor family, was well-received worldwide and won several prizes. In a similar vein, Mehboob Khan’s “Mother India” gave us access to a number of Indian villages, including Arthan, Miyagam Dabka, Umra, and Bhuing in Gujarat, as well as Igatpuri and Unchgaon in Maharashtra.
Following Mani Ratnam’s “Dil Se,” which revealed the lovely Pangong Lake in the song “Satrangi Re”, “3 Idiots,” and “Jab Tak Hai Jaan,” are a number of more Bollywood movies that showed Pangong lake. Pangong Lake, which is located in the Ladakh region at an elevation of 4,250 metres, is currently one of the best locations for camping in the Indian Himalayas. Similar Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh became a permanent feature on the Indian tourism map when part of the sequences for the song “Tanhai Tanhai” from the film “Koyla” was filmed here.
Again, there is an unending list of films that were filmed in some of India’s well-known hill stations. Gulmarg and Srinagar in Kashmir and Shimla in Himachal Pradesh, Darjeeling in West Bengal, Ooty in Tamil Nadu, and Munnar in Kerala are among the important locations.
The iconic actor Shammi Kapoor’s enduring love affair with Kashmir is unquestionably a credit to Indian tourism. Many other songs from films like “Tumse Achha Kaun Hai,” “Andaz,” “Kashmir Ki Kali,” or “Junglee” as well as scenes from songs like “Yahoo,” in which he slides down snow-capped mountains, or “Yeh chaand sa roshan chehra,” in which he tries to woo Sharmila Tagore while they are riding on shikaras on the famous Dal Lake, were filmed in the picturesque Kashmir.
How really do Indian films contribute to Travel and Tourism?
- Bridging the gap between the government and/or authorities and business professionals.
- Promoting movie site visits.
- Consultation on destination marketing.
- Benefits of Cinematic Tourism When locals witness their state’s distinctiveness in film, they will respect it more.
- Market research with tourists is influenced by movies.
- Several economic advantages accrue to the community, including shopping by cast and crew and rental income from locations used for shooting.
- Helping the country economically as the number of tourist spots increased.
Being one of the top nations for film production, with a shooting community dispersed across the nation, India also offers a variety of landscapes and settings in the many States and Union Territories, making it a desirable place for the production of both domestic and foreign films. Both directly and indirectly, Indian tourism has been impacted by Indian movies. Film tourism offers new development opportunities, such as site tours, film museums, exhibitions, and the theming of already-existing tourist destinations with a movie link, in addition to being a fantastic vehicle for destination marketing.
Not only Indian films but watching various movies from different countries influence Indian audiences to travel to those places. Therefore, it can be said that the media and entertainment sector has influenced various tourist destinations and made people aware of the diversity of the Indian terrain, language, religion, cuisine, dance, and festival. The advantages of film tourism are becoming more and more clear.
Also Read: Bollywood and gastronomy: An ever-evolving entwined relationship
(Purbasha Palit is a student of Journalism and Mass Communication from Amity University.)
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