‘Seen on screen’: more than three million holidays are inspired by TV shows

‘Seen on screen’: more than three million holidays are inspired by TV shows

More than three million people booked a holiday after being influenced by a TV show, reveals research from World Travel Market London released this today (Monday 5 November).

In the study, more than 1,000 British holidaymakers were asked if they had booked a holiday after seeing a destination on TV, and 7% said yes – equating to more than three million across the whole of the UK.

Tourist boards and tour operators across the world have tapped into this ‘set jetting’ phenomenon, to capitalise on tourists wanting to follow in the footsteps of TV stars.

One of the most popular is the fantasy series Game of Thrones, which has filming locations in countries as far afield as Croatia, Iceland, Morocco, Malta and Spain.

Northern Ireland is home to many locations and HBO – the US TV network that produces Game of Thrones – is planning to convert these sites in 2019 into tourist attractions under the ‘Game of Thrones Legacy’ brand.

Locations that tourists can visit will include Winterfell, Castle Black and Kings Landing. There will also be a formal studio tour of Linen Mill Studios, which will showcase costumes and props.

One of the many TV shows mentioned by respondents in the survey was Benidorm, a long-running ITV sitcom set in the Spanish resort.

Many UK tour operators and agents such as TUI, Thomas Cook, Holiday Hypermarket and On the Beach highlight the real-life hotels Sol Pelicanos and Ocas which are the location for the show. Travelsupermarket.com reported that the Costa Blanca destination saw a surge in bookings in the years after the show’s debut in 2007 – and now a new stage show based on the programme is reviving interest, as it’s touring the UK between October 2018 and April 2019.


It’s not just drama and comedy that’s inspiring visitors – the research revealed that documentaries by the likes of Michael Palin and Jeremy Clarkson also spark interest.

Clarkson and his co-presenters provided a boost for countries as varied as Vietnam and Switzerland when they worked on Top Gear – and now they’re doing the same with their Grand Tour show, which has prompted awareness of activities in destinations such as California and Dubai.

The adventures of Ab Fab actress Joanna Lumley have been credited with buoying bookings in destinations featured in her documentaries, including Japan, India and the Silk Road, and in 2016, WTM London welcomed Miriam Margolyes – star of The Real Marigold Hotel TV series, filmed in India.

WTM London’s Paul Nelson said: “Travel shows by the likes of Simon Reeve and Richard Ayoade are popular viewing, and have been since the days of Judith Chalmers.

“Veteran globe-trotter Palin was cited in our research for his shows about India, Azerbaijan and Bhutan – so it remains to be seen if his latest travelogue about North Korea will have the same impact.

“But there’s also a huge appetite to follow in the footsteps of TV stars – whether they’re real-life documentary makers such as David Attenborough or Scandi-noir detectives in Denmark and Sweden.

“Game of Thrones is a global phenomenon, responsible for pumping an estimated £166 million into Northern Ireland’s economy – and it will leave a lasting legacy for the future too.

“Talking of legacies, Jersey is still using 1980s show Bergerac in its marketing while Guernsey is seeing a spike in international visitors, thanks to the release this year of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society film, based on a book published in 2008.

“Tourist boards know that tapping into the TV trend is fruitful so VisitScotland recently produced a brochure called ‘TV Set in Scotland’ which features more than 60 television programmes, and VisitBritain has run campaigns with the producers of films featuring the likes of James Bond and Paddington.

“There is plenty more televisual inspiration at WTM London this year, with Game of Thrones itineraries and tours to see locations such as Downton Abbey and Peaky Blinders.”

Brit Movie Tours UKI360

VisitScotland UKI110

VisitBritain UKI200

Tourism Ireland UKI100


World Travel Market London takes place at ExCeL – London between Monday 5 November and Wednesday 7 November. Around 50,000 senior industry executives fly into London to agree deals worth more than £3 billion. These deals are the holiday routes, hotels and packages that holidaymakers will experience in 2019.

World Travel Market London polled 1,025 2018 UK holidaymakers.



About World Travel Market

World Travel Market (WTM) portfolio comprises six leading B2B events across four continents, generating more than $7bn of industry deals. The events are:

WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. About 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL London every November, generating about £2.8 billion of travel industry contracts. http://london.wtm.com/. Next event: 5-7 November 2018 – London.

T>F Travel Forward is a new travel technology event co-located with WTM London 2018 and part of the WTM portfolio of events. The inaugural T>F Travel Forward conference, exhibition and buyer programme will take place on 5 – 7 November 2018 at ExCeL London, showcasing next-generation technology for travel and hospitality.

WTM Latin America, now in its fifth edition, attracts about 9,000 unique senior executives. The event generates about US$374 million of new business. Taking place in Sao Paulo, Brazil, this show attracts a global audience to meet and shape the direction of the travel industry. More than 7,000 unique visitors attend the event to network, negotiate and discover the latest industry news. http://latinamerica.wtm.com/. Next event: 3-5 April 2018 – Sao Paulo.

WTM Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. Nearly 5,000 travel industry professionals attend Africa’s leading inbound and outbound travel and tourism market. WTM Africa delivers a proven mix of hosted buyers, media, pre-scheduled appointments, on-site networking, evening functions and invited travel trade visitors. http://africa.wtm.com/. Next event: 18-20 April 2018 – Cape Town.

Arabian Travel Market (ATM) is the leading, international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2017 attracted almost 40,000 industry professionals, agreeing deals worth US$2.5 billion over the four days. The 25th edition of ATM will showcase more than 2,500 exhibiting companies across 12 halls at Dubai World Trade Centre, making it the largest ATM in its 25-year history.  http://arabiantravelmarket.wtm.com/ www.wtmworld.com. Next event: 22-25 April 2018 – Dubai.

International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) is the meeting place for the global B2B golf travel community. Taking place annually since 1998, IGTM brings together more than 500 golf tourism suppliers and 400 pre-qualified buyers for four days of unmissable pre-scheduled appointments and exclusive networking opportunities. Showcasing a different golf destination every year, IGTM brings together 1,400 golf tourism professionals from more than 65 countries. http://igtm.wtm.com/. Next event: 15-18 October 2018 – Slovenia.

About Reed Exhibitions

Reed Exhibitions is the world’s leading events business, enhancing the power of face-to-face through data and digital tools at more than 500 events a year, in more than 43 countries, attracting more than seven million participants. East, Asia Pacific and Africa and organised by 41 fully staffed offices. Reed Exhibitions serves 43 industry sectors with trade and consumer events. It is part of the RELX Group plc, a world-leading provider of information solutions for professional customers across industries.

About Reed Travel Exhibitions

Reed Travel Exhibitions is the world’s leading travel and tourism events organiser with a growing portfolio of more than 22 international travel and tourism trade events in Europe, the Americas, Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Our events are market leaders in their sectors, whether they are global and regional leisure travel trade events, or specialist events for meetings, incentives, conference, events (MICE) industry, business travel, luxury travel, travel technology as well as golf, spa and ski travel. We have more than 35 years’ experience in organising world-leading travel exhibitions.

More information, please contact:

Paul Nelson – WTM Portfolio PR Manager

E: paul.nelson@reedexpo.co.uk

T: +44 (0)20 8910 7032/ M: +44 (0)79 1955 5510


Natalia Hartmann – WTM Portfolio PR Executive

E: natalia.hartmann@reedexpo.co.uk

T: +44 (0)20 8439 5535/ M: +44 (0)74 0336 7331

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World Travel Market brings the travel industry together through world leading events, content and digital tools, that make it easier for you to find personal and business opportunities and do more effective business.

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