Carlos Rosado, president of the Spain Film Commission, describes the Spain Screen Grand Tour project, the great commitment to the future of two of the most powerful industries in Spain: tourism and audiovisuals.
When, how and why was the Spain Screen Grand Tour project born?
The idea of Spain Screen Grand Tour comes from many years ago. In 2006 I wrote a book with Piluca Querol from Andalucía Film Commission, where we analysed the important impact that filming has on the destinations that host them, providing them with one of the best tools for tourism promotion. Over the years, at Spain Film Commission we have matured this idea into an ambitious project like Spain Screen Grand Tour, which aims to become the great benchmark for screen tourism in Spain.
Another important background is in Fitur Screen, the area dedicated to screen tourism that we created together with Ifema in 2018. This initiative has enabled us to present ourselves to the professional and final public within the framework of Fitur, the most important fair of the tourism sector in our country. This is our own space in which we promote this tourism segment, gaining notoriety for our projects and those of our partners.
Currently, the opportunity scenario is even bigger, since the boom of audiovisual content platforms, even more after the pandemic, generates a huge interest in those places where successful fictions take place. We know that 30% of the filming budget stays in the territory, but we are also conscious that there is an ever more important subsequent benefit, as 80 million travellers choose their destination based on films and TV series.
Therefore, Spain Screen Grand Tour has all the ingredients to revolutionize the tourism industry and project the Spain brand from a new perspective. That will be our goal and 2023 will be a decisive year to achieve it.
We are the second biggest tourist destination worldwide and the fourth most filmed country. In such a favourable scenario to boost the screen tourist segment, what are the challenges that SFC faces in the coming years?
Spain Screen Grand Tour is based on the idea that images shot in a territory show its singularities and are capable of making them known anywhere in the world. The challenge is to lead the story that this fiction has projected and take advantage of it to generate a real interest in the destination. That is why we will rely heavily on the creation of quality content, properly combining on-screen imaginary with real scenarios. The key is to be able to connect all the emotional burden of the audiovisual product with tourist experiences and, in that sense, communication will play a fundamental role.
Filming in the Schoolyard, Salamanca / Salamanca Film Commission
Our network of partners, Film Commissions and Film Offices, will be our main allies to achieve these goals. Thanks to them we will be able to know the magic that surrounds all those productions that are shot in many incredible corners of our country. The novelty is that we will do it through a touristic vision. What we intend is to provoke the desire to visit those places that are already known through the screen, but that our followers will rediscover turned into the protagonists of their own trip.
The tourist impact of filming does not yet have concrete data, but it is increasingly evident. What is needed for us to have a consolidated offer with well-designed and marketed tourist products?
Spain Film Commission has been a forerunner in analysing the relationship between the audiovisual and tourism industries and driving various initiatives to promote screen tourism. We believe that we have the necessary conditions for Spain to become a benchmark in this segment, but the development of this tourist offer still has a long way to go.
Filming of “The Invisible Girl” in Carmona, Seville / Julio Vergne for Netflix
Spain Screen Grand Tour will be a powerful tool at the service of territories to promote their tourist attractions and we are sure that the interest it will generate will lead to an increase in the demand for specific products. I believe that our work will push the sector to a logical evolution in the coming years, making the public and private sectors bet on strengthening the market. In short, we intend to be a “(r)evolutionary” of the tourism industry, a driving force that will give a definitive boost to an innovative and promising segment.
Care and commitment to the filming environment is increasingly important. In what terms do you consider sustainability within screen tourism?
Spain Film Commission, RedCAU –Spanish Network of Audiovisual Clusters- and the National Renewable Energy Centre -CENER- signed an agreement in September to promote green shooting. This demonstrates our firm commitment to the environment in which we work.
Of course, our Spain Screen Grand Tour project will also adopt this philosophy and will carry in its DNA the commitment to sustainable tourism. In this sense, both audiovisual products and tourism proposals can help a lot to fight against certain problems in the sector, such as the saturation of destinations, seasonality or the lack of social/cultural commitment to the environment. Screen tourism can offer travel options to little-known places, out of season and in which connecting with their inhabitants, history, traditions and customs is a priority. Once again, the magic of the screen is materialised in real experiences so that not only the filming but also the tourism that comes after, has a positive impact on the territories.
Has the increase in the consumption of content on streaming platforms influenced the generation of interest in visiting Spain?
No doubt whatsoever. Spain has been a film shooting destination for many years (there are the classics of the 50s, 60s and 70s), but the boom of the platforms has led to an exponential growth in that sense. Netflix, for example, has its largest production facilities in Madrid, outside the United States. On the other hand, productions such as Game of Thrones and The Crown, which chose Spanish locations to shoot many of their exteriors from certain seasons onwards, have marked a before and after in this regard.
Filming of “Doctor García’s patients” in Madrid/ RTVE/ Madrid Film Office
What is evident is that once the series or film sees the light of day, the attractiveness of those places multiplies and our goal is to cause that such a screen consumer becomes a tourist consumer.
SFC is growing in number of partners, something closely linked to the increase in filming in our country, but with regard to the Spain Screen Grand Tour project, what role do they play in the growth of screen tourism?
Indeed, the number of members of Spain Film Commission is growing at a very good pace and we are already 39 partners. We are seeing how the work of all these years is bearing fruit, making the Association an increasingly strong entity. Obviously, this strength also favours us to undertake a project such as Spain Screen Grand Tour, where the whole network will be involved.
In fact, Film Commissions and Film Offices are key players because they are the ones who are attracting production companies to their territories with their professionalism. Our partners are the ones who know best the economic repercussion that any filming means for a municipality and many of them already include on their websites screen tourism routes based on series and films. In this respect, there are some fantastic examples that we will highlight. From Andalucía Film Commission or Madrid Film Office, which are very powerful entities due to their location, to others such as Soria or Carmona, which represent smaller cities in a very solvent way.
By Ana Alonso
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