If there is anything that unites India and also inspires and runs the country, then it would definitely be films. And like everything in the movies, the destinations portrayed in films also inspire us to travel. Yash Chopra did that with Switzerland. With the Swiss meadows and mountains for its backdrop, Chopra’s films ended up making Switzerland an aspirational destination. Keen to tap the increasing number of outbound and domestic travellers, destinations are keen to piggyback ride on films to market themselves. Indian states have also woken up to this potential, and are making sure that they make the most of it. Introducing the virtual conclave on film tourism – Tourism’s Shooting Stars, Peden Doma Bhutia, Editor, ETTravelWorld, opened the panel discussion – ‘Filmi Way to Market a Destination’ with these words.
Joining Bhutia, in the panel were Sheo Shekhar Shukla. Principal Secretary, Tourism, Culture & Public Relations Department, Govt of MP & Managing Director, Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board, Navneet Sehgal, Additional Chief Secretary, Information and Public Relations, Uttar Pradesh, Dilip Jawalkar, Secretary, Uttarakhand Tourism, Khyati Nayak, Manager Marketing (Niche tourism), Gujarat Tourism, Shuchi Trivedi, Director, EY India.
Talking more about Gujarat’s online single-window clearance process for shooting permission, Khyati Nayak, Manager Marketing (Niche tourism), Gujarat Tourism, said that the state now has a dedicated web portal for cinematic tourism, which even has a database of unexplored locations, a list of extras, post-production team, artisans, translators, district authorities and other departments which don’t come directly under the direct administration. She went on to say that the new Gujarat Tourism policy also has a lot to offer to filmmakers and laid the importance of creating a holistic ecosystem to facilitate film shoots. She said Gujarat is also inviting people to build infrastructure related to shootings pre and post production and the state would be soon coming out with an exclusive film tourism policy.
Calling UP one of the few states in India which provides subsidies for film shootings, Sehgal said, “A lot of people in the state work in the film industry in Mumbai, so they want to come back home with their films. Film tourism helps to increase footfall of the public in the state. It brings a lot of publicity and it also generates interest among tourists.”
Referring to the award that Uttarakahand had received for being the ‘Most Friendly State for Film Shoots’ at the National Film Festival, Dilip Jawalkar, Secretary, Uttarakhand Tourism, said that the state has tried to incentivise the shoots, has been helping filmmakers in the ease of doing business and the friendly locals have only added to the overall experience of making it a preferred destination for film shoots.
Nothing promotes a destination better than a good movie. Films are a wonderful medium which can reach out to so many people in such a short duration of shooting, said Shuchi Trivedi. Applauding states like MP, UP and Uttarakhand, which have been proactive in tapping on the potential of film tourism, Trivedi said that many unknown destinations have got a facelift due to films being shot there.
Besides creating a film facilitation cell, Madhya Pradesh has also designated an officer with a filmmaker, who would be offering an end-to-end solution for all shooting-related queries, informed Sheo Shekhar Shukla. “Mr Anupam Kher came to MP and in 22 days completed his shoot and flew back,” he said, while providing an example of the ease of doing business that the state provides to filmmakers.