It’s called “The White Lotus effect”, and it refers to the boom of American tourists in Sicily after the airing of the second season of the award-winning TV series that won two Golden Globes. As reported by the New York Times Post,  by the end of 2022, accommodation requests in Sicily had increased by 50%, with Taormina ranking at the top of the list of the most sought-after destinations on travel websites.
But it’s not just Sicily. In recent months, there has also been an increase in flight searches to Naples following the release of the new season of ‘Mare Fuori’.
Cine-tourism is a growing sector, according to Expedia’s 2023 travel trends report, which revealed that two-thirds of travelers draw inspiration from movies and TV series to choose their next destination.


PhotoAiD’s Study on cine-tourism


According to a survey conducted by PhotoAiD, 96% of people have visited at least once in their lives the sets of their favorite movies, and this year’s holidays, 78% will choose their destinations based on the locations of beloved films.
In line with this trend, Netflix has initiated a collaboration with the United Nations World Tourism Organization to support the favorite destinations of cine tourists.


Moreover, even government entities like the website of Albuquerque, New Mexico, have created a special itinerary for ‘Breaking Bad’ fans, as well as French tourism agencies offering guided tours to the favorite locations of Lily Collins in ‘Emily in Paris’. The latter has attracted numerous tourists and aspiring residents to the French capital.


According to PhotoAiD’s survey, 35% of respondents choose a city based on their Netflix watch history to have an immersive experience that allows them to feel like the protagonist of a show, even if only for a moment.


Among the preferred destinations in the United States, 31% of respondents stated a desire to visit Hawaii due to their passion for the ‘Jurassic Park’ saga. In the American ranking, New York dominates the second, third, and fourth places for three different reasons. The series ‘Friends’ motivates 30.5% of tourists, the 2019 film ‘Joker’ motivates 28.6%, and ‘Home Alone 2: Lost in New York’ motivates 27.9%.


To give an idea of the economic impact cine-tourism can have on a country, the second-to-last film in the ‘Jurassic Park’ franchise, ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,’ boosted Hawaii’s economy with $31 million. According to the research, this amount translates to $6.9 million in wages for over 1,200 Hawaiian workers.


The most desired destinations:



But what are the most desired destinations? While the first place is taken by the United Kingdom and Ireland, the realm of ‘Harry Potter’ and ‘Sherlock Holmes’, New Zealand takes the second position with 18.1% of tourists seeking to relive the journey of The Lord of the Rings’. Following closely are the sets of ‘Game of Thrones’ in Northern Ireland, the United Kingdom, and Croatia (chosen by 17% of respondents) and South Korea from ‘Squid Game’ (16.7%).