Do you want your town or city to be filled with tourists? That’s easy: manage to get him in a hit movie or TV show. Although the call ‘screen tourism’ It is not a novelty, lately its impact has skyrocketed, something that can mean a rain of tickets for the locals… but also a source of problems due to overcrowding and the excessive influx of visitors.
From natural landscapes ruined by weekenders until shattered monuments by tourists bent on emulating their favorite fictional characters, examples abound around the world. Here are a few examples.
Maya Bay (Thailand)
We saw her in… The beach (2000)
One of the most emblematic cases of a place ruined by screen tourism is that of this coastal enclave located on the island of Ko Phi Phi Lee. Costas Christ, One of the tourists who helped turn this and other places in Thailand into meccas for world backpackers has denounced the damage caused by an influx of tourists who, after the premiere of the film Danny Boyle, came to add up 8,000 people per day.
The damage to the ecosystem caused by such a horde forced the Thai government to close the beach for four years, between 2018 and 2022, to carry out a rehabilitation plan. Let’s hope that the claim of that Leonardo Dicaprio without a shirt has dwindled like time, because the local fauna and flora do not deserve something like that.
Skellig Michael Island (Ireland)
We saw her in… Star Wars: The Last Jedi
The status of a natural park on this island in the North Atlantic, protected by UNESCO, was the origin of one of the most endearing creatures that has recently arrived in the galactic saga. Since the film crew could not disturb the colonies of puffins that nest in Skellig Michael, the director rian johnson he went from erasing the birds with CGI and instead transformed them into the endearing porg, digital technology through
However, the puffin’s habitat is now threatened by the throngs of tourists (17,000 a day, 6,000 more than the recommended influx for the island) who now flock to the island to visit the place of exile of Luke Skywalker. Interestingly, some of those same tourists have died after falling down the dizzying cliffs of the place: the Force, you know, has its own way of balancing things.
Lansing Farm (Iowa)
We saw it in… field of dreams
Screen tourism does not always mean the destruction of a unique ecosystem, but its negative consequences can be even more insidious. Tell that to the Lansing family, who owns the field where Kevin Costner played baseball with a ghostly Black Sox lineup (whose members included Burt Lancaster and Ray Liott).
After the filming of the tape, the Lansings found that they had a baseball field on their property… and that the tourists attracted by their history would not let them return in peace to their agricultural work. From what we have seen, the family turned their farm into a tourist attraction, which worked so well that it ended up being sold in 2011: the price has not been made public, but it would exceed six million dollars.
Pink House (London)
We saw her in… love actually
The scene where andrew lincoln declared his love to Keira Knightley using labels has remained in the memory of fans of romantic comedy. And the current owner of the property also has it in mind, although for less endearing reasons. “I had no idea this house was in the movie when I bought it, before the Instagram fever, and now I live buried by selfies, tour guides and tourists lining up to have their photos taken,” has declared.
This harassment has reached such a point that the municipal government of Kensington and Chelsea has taken action on the matter, asking visitors to move away from the place. Likewise, the authorities suggest alternative visits such as the nearby Portobello Road, site of the historic second-hand market in which area it was filmed. Paddington.
We saw it in… Frozen
Until 2013, this Austrian town of 800 inhabitants only sounded familiar to archeology fans, given the invaluable finds from the Iron Age that have taken place in its subsoil. When the adventures of Elsa and Anna reached the screens, however, things changed for the worse: tourists began to arrive by tens of thousands to visit the place that inspired the kingdom of Arendelle.
By 2017, the bad manners of those same tourists had forced the local church to put a doorman to avoid interruptions during the celebration of mass. Worst of all, according to the locals, is that the visits (up to 30,000 per day) They don’t bother to get to know the town, they limit themselves to Get off the bus, take a photo for Instagram and run. Something that is not only disrespectful, but also scares away other, more respectful forms of tourism.
Arnold Farm (Harrisville, Rhode Island)
We (not) saw her in… Warren File: The Conjuring
Sometimes it is not necessary for a place to appear in a movie to become a magnet for tourism… and also for less pleasant things. Without going any further, although it does not appear in the film of James Wan, This farm was the scene of the events (more or less real, depending on one’s belief in the paranormal) that inspired the film. Something to which it owes its status as an attraction for visitors… and also some threat or other.
Because, since the case of the perron family and the Warren couple became popular thanks to the movies, the current owners of the estate have had to face threats from religious fundamentalists and esoteric nutcases, who claim to be willing to demolish the property alleging that it is “possessed by evil” The biggest irony? That said owners, the marriage Heinzen, They are also engaged in paranormal investigations.
Highbridge Stairs (New York)
We saw them in… joker
Along with the stairs The Exorcist in Washington DC, these must be the most famous steps in cinema since we saw joaquin phoenix mark his little dance as the Clown Prince of Crime. The subsequent history of this enclave, which connects Shakespeare and Anderson avenues in the Bronx, is a good argument to ensure that Instagram and other social networks are even more perverse than the archenemy of Batman.
Because, in addition to a place immortalized by the screen, the Highbridge stairs They are a place of passage for the residents of the neighborhood. Neighbors who are not amused by the fact that hundreds of people are posing in them to take the obligatory photo. This influx of public, together with the fact that the most uncivil visitors leave the place in a mess, led to a popular campaign asking for respect with the motto “Not joking.”
Fjadrárgljúfur Gorge (Iceland)
We saw it in… Game of Thrones
As far as environmental impact is concerned, the series based on the novels by George R. R. Martin has proved more destructive than the dragons of Daenerys Targaryen. One of the examples (because there are many) is this natural area located on the native island of Bjork, where the battle took place jon snow and the King of the Night. To top it off, the place also served as the setting for a video clip of Justin Bieber, which raised the number of visitors to More than a million between 2015 and 2021.
The influx of public to the place was revealed to be so detrimental that the icelandic government had no choice but to close the place in 2019. And although Fjadrárgljúfur was reopened to visitors a few months later, the forest guards continue to go to great lengths to prevent tourists from damaging the landscape.
San Juan de Gaztelugatxe (Bermeo, Vizcaya)
We saw her in… Game of Thrones
In the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, the island-fortress of Rock Dragon it is a bleak and sinister place that no one in their right mind would want to visit. In our world, however, other rules apply, so this hermitage in the Basque Country that served as a home for Stannis Baratheon and his minions quickly became a place of pilgrimage for tronistas. Many of whom, for a change, showed zero respect for the environment.
In 2019, the volunteer commission that takes care of the place denounced that some visitors were dedicated to taking as a souvenir fragments of the stones that make up the building. Something that is unfortunate if we consider that the origins of the monument date back to the 10th century, and that volunteers were forced to repair the damage by climbing a whopping 241 stairs.
Freshwater Beach (Wales)
We saw her in… Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part I
the saga Harry Potter it has its own share of ecological damage in tow from movie tourism. The use of this Welsh beach as a location for the death of Dobby in the penultimate film of the serial, it attracted a legion of visitors to the place eager to mourn our favorite house-elf, who went so far as to erect a makeshift monument to celebrate his memory.
The problem arose with the offerings that said visitors left at the foot of said monument (a wooden cross with the epitaph “Here lies Dobby, a free elf”). “Items such as socks, toys and painted stones could enter the marine environment and the food chain, endangering wildlife,” warned the national trust of Wales when it prohibited any further gifts being deposited at the site.
Milvian Bridge (Rome)
We saw it in… I desire you
In the damage caused by the cinema, as in everything, there are classes, something that in the Italian capital they know very well. Because it’s one thing that places like the Fontana di Trevi wave mouth of truth are filled with visitors wishing to emulate audrey hepburn and Gregory Peck, and another that this monument on the Tiber ends up full of padlocks because of the adaptation of Federico Moccia.
Unfortunately, the fashion of the happy padlocks as a seal of love between couples spread to such an extent that it affected bridges located in many other cities. It was so to such an extent that in 2018 the city of Paris launched a campaign called ‘Love Without Locks’ (“Love without locks”), encouraging the public to express their crushes in other, more civilized ways.
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