Google the definition of pop culture or popular culture. It’s… a lot. Take this one from vocabulary.com: “The music, movies, TV shows, and other media that the majority of people consume are known collectively as pop culture. In the 1970s, pop culture included disco music and Star Wars. Today, pop culture embraces true crime podcasts, memes, and…Star Wars.” But we can simplify that definition even more, to say it’s what people are into. And what people are into frequently inspires their travel – creating a pop culture tourism boom.
As Seen on TV
In some shows, the location is in the spotlight just as much as the main characters. And fans that want to connect to the fictional people near and dear to their hearts are all too happy to make a pilgrimage to the real places those people have been. Visit Albuquerque wisely leverages its status as the filming location for Breaking Bad and its spinoff show, Better Call Saul. Across the pond, fans of Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey and Outlander are regularly descending upon Northern Ireland, England and Scotland.
Big Screen Energy
Every Jaws fan knows that Martha’s Vineyard is the destination that stood in for the film’s non-existent Amity Island – and many of them vacation there to jump off “Jaws Bridge” and walk in Chief Brody’s footsteps. So it may be surprising to learn that the island’s circa-1970s leaders initially questioned the wisdom of being connected to a movie about a man-eating shark. Clearly a needless concern, given that the population of Martha’s Vineyard increases by a whopping 750% every summer due to an influx of more than 150,000 seasonal visitors – even though the island can only be reached by ferry or flights out of airports along the East Coast.
That’s My Jam
For anyone who has ever chosen a song to dance to with a new spouse or a parent at their wedding reception, you know how personal and meaningful music can be. It can tell a story, set a mood or even soothe our souls. And certain lyrics truly speak to us. That’s why fans jump through hoops to secure concert tickets. (Who can forget the whole Taylor Swift/Ticketmaster debacle?) But it’s also why travelers flock to Graceland, Dollywood, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and The Grand Ole Opry.
Read, Love, Go
Sometimes the images you create in your mind as you read a book can be even more powerful than those spoon-fed to you by TV and movie directors. That’s why travel and tour companies and websites have built curated trip itineraries inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love, Cheryl Strayed’s Wild and Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code, among many others, to lure people passionate about those stories.
Having It All
Of course, there are also multi-day festivals that bring travelers to the intersection of all things pop culture. Destinations that host the ever-popular SXSW, Coachella, Burning Man and Bonnaroo Arts and Music Festival experience an influx of visitors on those event dates year after year. As you read this blog, New Jersey’s all-new North To Shore – with headliners including Santana, Halsey, Daymond John, Stephen Colbert, Jim Gaffigan and others – will be wrapping up its festival debut, dazzling fans of music, comedy and more.
Whether a summer blockbuster or binge-worthy show was filmed outside your door, a music sensation was born down the street, a bestselling novel was set in your town, or a must-see festival is hosted a stone’s throw away – or none of these scenarios apply to you – Dana knows how to attract travelers to your destination. If you’re ready to increase visitation and visitor spending, contact Lynn Kaniper at 609.466.9187 ext. 117 or firstname.lastname@example.org today.