Whether you binge it, stream it, PVR it or live tweet it, chances are you’re getting your TV fix just like the rest of us, and loving every minute of it.
TV culture has become a huge part of our lives, and whether we’re in it just for the escapism or the pure enjoyment of a good TV series, our love of shows has spilled over into so many aspects of our everyday lives.
It’s been estimated that on a global level we watch an average of over 3.5 hours of TV per day. And to no surprise, those TV hours are inspiring us to get off of that couch and get some of that series scenery for ourselves. In 2012 for example, it’s estimated that about 40 million tourists chose their destination based on a filming location.
Television is chewing gum for the eyes - Frank Lloyd Wright
It makes perfect sense that we’d crave to stand in the same spots as some of our favourite TV characters, visiting the sets of places we’ve spent countless hours fantasizing about in our PJs, but the actual amount of tourism that has been caused by TV culture is becoming next level, and bringing us to some awesome and unusual places that we wouldn’t be exploring otherwise.
Here are some of the blockbuster destinations that have seen their tourism reach next levels due to us binge-watchers and our love of TV culture:
New Mexico, USA
Of all of the tourist hotspots in the USA, New Mexico is one of the most unexpected on the list, and it’s all thanks to a character named Walter White and the phenomenon that is Breaking Bad. The world binge watched it, loved to hate the characters and cheered as it won countless awards, and even before it spawned a successful spinoff in the form of Better Call Saul, it left travellers yearning for a bit of desert sand in their shoes.
Albuquerque in particular, has become the Breaking Bad holy land. Filming locations, tours, souvenirs (like this blue rock candy) and local experiences available as a result of the show mean that fans from around the world can become “the one who knocks” for as long as they please. New Mexico as a whole has been seeing record-breaking tourism stats, with 2016 numbers up almost 30% compared to 2010.
If you haven’t watched Game of Thrones by now, firstly, get out. Now fellow GOT heads, hands up who’s fallen in love with the ancient beauty of Dubrovnik? Game of Thrones is arguably the biggest and best TV show in the world (even if Season 7 was a bit dodgy in parts), and with Dubrovnik as the main filming location for King’s Landing it’s a given that many travellers are visiting purely to get their Thrones fix. It’s no understatement to say that tourism in Croatia is booming, with visitors up 22% this year after an already record-breaking 2016.
New York City, USA
NYC doesn’t need another reason for tourists by any means, but a lot of the pure magnetism of the city has been fuelled by its presence in the classic shows and moments of TV culture. Some of the biggest TV shows in history are filmed and set in New York City, and the Seinfeld, Friends and Sex and the City fans keep flocking there to pay homage to their favourite characters and show moments. NYC broke the record books with over 60 million tourists in 2016.
Following in Breaking Bad’s footsteps, the modern adaptation of Westworld has become a top-rated TV series which also puts an emphasis on the deserts of the USA, with Utah being the backdrop for this futuristic and twisted theme park. The red valleys and rock formations are drawing in countless Westworld fans, and Utah is seeing its own record-breaking tourist numbers, especially for their national parks.
North Hampshire, England
It’s bewildering to many how Downton Abbey – a drama about an aristocratic family and its servants in the early 20th century – has become such a phenomenon in this day and age, but alas it has, and it’s a big one. It has won countless awards and has attracted an audience of millions both young and old, and the popularity of the show has turned the unexpected county of Hampshire, England into a tourist hotspot.
The county is relatively low-key otherwise, and despite the journey to Highclere being almost 1.5 hours outside of central London, it’s an intentional journey that is taken by many loyal Downtonians. All you have to do is look up tags of Highclere Castle on Instagram to see that this journey into the English countryside has become a must-do, just for a photo of your best pose in front of the infamous Crawley residence.
The big TV location spots aside, shows in every genre, from Big Little Lies to Stranger Things, Orange is the New Black to Veep, are drawing visitors and fans to different parts of the world.
Based on our continuing love for TV, it’s probably safe to say that if you’re looking to predict some of the hottest places to visit in the next year, you can start by diving into TV culture and finding out what everyone is and will be watching this fall and beyond. Get your remotes and your passports ready.