Like the saying goes, life imitates art—and this is especially true when looking at the latest travel industry trends. According to American Express Travel’s recent trend report, “set-jetting,” aka traveling to a location seen on your favorite television series or movie, is one of the most popular 2023 vacation trends. Expedia’s annual report says two-thirds of travelers have considered visiting locations they’ve seen on television and 39% of them have booked said trip.
Although trending this year, the concept of set-jetting isn’t new. For many years, “Lord of the Rings” fans stayed in hobbit holes in New Zealand; “The Sound of Music” lovers biked through Salzburg, Austria, like Maria von Trapp; and “Game of Thrones” enthusiasts wandered the streets of Dubrovnik, Croatia, where many scenes from King’s Landing were filmed. In fact, Northern Ireland reported that its fame as a “Game of Thrones” filming site added almost $40 million in tourism dollars in 2018. Similarly, the University of Zadar released a study finding that tourism brought more than $200 million into Croatia during the show’s run on HBO. Popular travel destinations inspired by recent television shows include Glasgow, Scotland, the setting of sultry romance series “Outlander;” Paris, France, of “Emily in Paris” fame; and Marrakech, Morocco, which was featured in the later episodes of “Inventing Anna.”
For domestic travelers, there are plenty of trendy set-jetting destinations to entice groups, too. Perhaps no place illustrates the impact of TV on domestic travel as much as Missoula, Montana, home to many “Yellowstone” filming locations. In 2021, the University of Montana released a report that found “Yellowstone” had attracted 2.1 million visitors to the state.
So, where to next? When considering where travelers want to go this year and beyond, look to the favorite TV shows of your tour customers. Other travel-worthy TV destinations include the Ozark Mountains of Missouri (from Netflix’s “Ozark” series); the Outer Banks of North Carolina (from Netflix’s “Outer Banks” series); and Maui, Hawaii (from HBO’s “White Lotus” series). Film buffs will appreciate classic destinations like New York City, the site of movies like “West Side Story,” “The Godfather,” and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”
Want more set-jetting inspiration? Check out this article on Georgia’s film tours.
Enrich the Experience
Consider these ideas for your set-jetting tours
- Break up the monotony of travel time by playing the film or TV show on the motorcoach. (And don’t forget the popcorn!)
- Gather the group for a photo-op and re-create iconic film or TV scenes.
- Arrange for a costume contest and let travelers’ creativity shine.
- Plan a trivia night to test guests’ film and TV knowledge.
Main Image: Hobbiton Movie Set, Matamata, New Zealand; Credit: Adrien Aletti/Unsplash