Brit flicks drawing tourists

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As we enter the new year it seems England’s cities are ‘in,’ thanks to a stream of home-grown blockbusters drawing visitors from all over the world, eager to retrace the steps of characters as diverse as Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes.

With people travelling from all over the world to visit filming locations in London, Liverpool and Manchester, it’s as good an excuse as any for us locals to get out there and explore what our nation has to offer!

While anyone who’s seen it would agree that Guy Ritchie’s take on the Sherlock Holmes legend is… unconventional (to say the least), it’s certainly done the trick for the tourism industry – even forming the basis for a new iPhone application released by VisitBritain that encourages fans to visit its filming locations.

According to The Drum, VisitBritain is already planning a similar campaign to mark the release of the upcoming Robin Hood movie – so it looks like Nottingham and Sherwood Forest can expect an influx of eager visitors in 2010.

This tourism boost isn’t all about devoted fans making pilgrimages, but even the film production itself can have a positive impact on the economy. According to Liverpool tourism spokesperson Gary Millar, filming one single scene of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows brought half a million pounds to the city’s tourism industry. Hotels were quickly filled up by the various folk involved in putting together a scene that lasts for all of five minutes on the big screen!

These success stories spell hope that the British film industry might finally be on the road to recovery, meaning the UK can become a major player in international cinema after a fairly disappointing couple of decades. And while traditionalists will surely bemoan these modernised adaptations of Sherlock Holmes and the like, the films might at least get a few more people interested in these classic tales.

And of course, there’s always the Sherlock Holmes Museum on Baker Street that’s still going strong as a tourist attraction, and is well worth a look for even the most casual fan. Just don’t expect to hear anything about Holmes’ kung-fu skills there…

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