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Cinema and tourism have more in common than you might think. In the past, the influence of movies as a motivating factor when choosing to visit a destination was spontaneous and unplanned. Still, a study suggests that over 80 million tourists worldwide choose a destination influenced by movie locations. The Cheers TV series provided Boston tourism with 7 million dollars worth of free publicity for the city.

Before rushing off to see where scenes from your favourite movie were filmed, it’s wise to check that they are still available. Many film sites have changed over the years through natural causes, development, or computer-generated fake imagery.

Some sets are purpose-built and removed after filming, such as the stone buildings in The Banshees of Inisherin, but the beautiful views on the island of Inis Mhor in Ireland will always remain a draw for visitors. The archway over the water on Gozo in Malta – The Azure Window, which appeared in the first episode of Game of Thrones is no longer there after a storm in 2017 collapsed the structure.

Therefore, we’ve compiled a list of movie locations which are easily accessible when visiting on holiday.

Los Angeles and New York dominate the movie industry when it comes to location filming, so it’s no surprise to find there are many tours available in both cities that take in a huge variety of films and, of course, the natural scenery of North America also provides sensational backdrops to many movies.

Los Angeles is best known for Pretty Woman, one of the highest-grossing romantic comedies, where The Beverly Wilshire Hotel takes centre stage. The restaurant where Julia Roberts accidentally sends the escargot flying across the room is now called Cicada, in downtown LA. So, if you want a romantic northern Italian dinner, request the Pretty Woman table.

The classic scene where Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga sing “Shallow” from A Star is Born was at Super A Foods in Glassell Park, near Griffith Park, which is where Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone in LaLa Land discover the spectacular view of the San Fernando Valley and perform the showstopper, a “Lovely Night”. The sequence was filmed in one take at Cathy’s Corner off Mt Hollywood Drive.

In New York, When Harry Met Sally in that iconic café scene, Katz’s Deli was the venueand in the three decades since, it is just as popular today. New York boasts hundreds of famous film locations, including TV favourites Sex and the City and Friends, with daily tours still packed out. Located in the Tribeca neighbourhood of Manhattan, Hook and Ladder 8 is a New York fire station whose exterior became famous as the base for Ghostbusters. It was about to be shut down in 2011 but was saved by a public campaign.

In Queens, the Unisphere, a spherical, stainless steel representation of Earth, has been used as the setting for many films and productions, most notably for multiple Marvel movies such as Iron Man 2, Captain America, The First Avenger and Spider-Man: Homecoming.  

The American Natural History Museum, situated just off Central Park, made it the perfect location to host A Night at the Museum, The Devil Wears Prada, and Malcolm X. At the same time, The Plaza Hotel is arguably New York’s most movie-centric hotel. It’s located along Central Park South, a landmark 20-story luxury hotel from 1907. The most well-known movie is Home Alone 2, where even Donald Trump makes a cameo in the scene. Other films shot here include North by Northwest, The Way We Were, and The Great Gatsby. Whilst the hotel had a small role in Sleepless in Seattle, the viewing terrace at the top of The Empire State Building starred in the finale. Cafe Lalo, nicknamed The Star Cafe, is seen in multiple romantic dinners in TV and film; the most notable is the scene in You’ve Got Mail where Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks meet for the first time in person. It’s still serving great food today.

Las Vegas has long been an attraction for movies, including Indecent Proposal, Oceans 11, and Diamonds Are Forever. The “Emperors Suite” in Caesars Palace is still referred to as the Rain Man Suite, which also hosted the huge hit The Hangover. 

Back on the East Coast, Boston was the backdrop for The Departed, Good Will Hunting and Mystic River, along with many TV favourites. Daily walking tours provide a great insight into many locations. Nearby, off Cape Cod, tours also operate daily on Martha’s Vineyard for Jaws fans nearly fifty years after filming.

Away from the cities, the classic Thelma and Louise road movie was filmed around Monument Valley, Arizona, with the final scene shot at Dead Horse Point State Park, situated between Arches and Canyonlands National Parks near Moab in Utah. Further north, Devils Tower in Wyoming was made a national monument in 1906, long before Close Encounters of the Third Kind elevated it to iconic status. Only thirty miles away is Mt Rushmore, well known for Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 film North by Northwest and, more recently, the location for National Treasure: Book of Secrets. At nearby Rapid City, you can visit the re-sited buildings of Fort Hays from Kevin Costner’s Oscar-winning Dances With Wolves.

Moving to Europe, in Spain, only a few miles from the beach resort of Mojacar lies Tabernas, where the original sets for Clint Eastwood’s spaghetti westerns For A Few Dollars More and The Good, The Bad and the Ugly are still intact as part of a western theme park. This is also where Lawrence of Arabia was filmed.

The Greek Islands have been seen on screen many times. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin filming took place on Cephalonia, and Mamma Mia’s outdoor scenes were located in Damouchari on Skopelos, as well as Skiathos. Before the ABBA movie, the well-loved Shirley Valentine was shot at Little Venice on Mykonos, as were the final scenes of The Bourne Identity, and one of the first major films to be set on Rhodes was the 1961 favourite The Guns of Navarone, filmed in beautiful Lindos.

In Sicily, the pretty town of Savoca, near Taormina, stood in for the village of Corleone in The Godfather and many other locations on the island. More recently, The White Lotus (Season 2) created a booking frenzy for Taormina’s San Domenico Palace Hotel, but you don’t have to stay there to enjoy the elegance of the place. Cocktails on the terrace let you enjoy the magnificent sea view while Mount Etna smokes away in the background.

In Paris, you can still order an Amelie Salad at the Café des Deux Moulins in Paris, where Amelie worked in the cult French film of the same name.

Game of Thrones has hundreds of locations around Europe, such as Dubrovnik, which stood in for Kings Landing. At the same time, dozens of scenes were filmed in Seville, especially in The Royal Alcazar, while parts of Iceland served as “north of the wall” scenes, as did the Gates of Mdina, in Malta’s historical hilltop town.

Tunisia and Morocco are huge favourites with film-makers. Nicknamed the Star Wars Hotel, 

the Hotel Sidi Driss in Tunisia still retains some of the film’s decorations, while a host of films were at least partly made in the major tourist attraction of the city of Ouarzazate in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, including Death on the Nile, Jack Ryan, Gladiator, Aquaman and Black Hawk Down 

Petra in Jordan is one of the world’s most stunning destinations, so it is no surprise this is where Indiana Jones had his Last Crusade. Not far away, Wadi Rum has had its fair share of screen time, with John Wick 4, Dune, The Martian, and Lawrence of Arabia taking in the remarkable landscape.

Dubai’s Armani Hotel at the Burj Khalifa welcomed Tom Cruise and Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol, where they broke 35 windows during filming. Star Trek Beyond is also filmed in the city, and daily tours of film locations are available.

In the east, the Bayon Temple at Angkor Thom in Cambodia appeared in all its glory on the screen in Lara Croft – Tomb Raider, and the real Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is Ravla Khempur in Udaipur, India while not forgetting The Park Hyatt, Tokyo, which was Lost in Translation. Beaches play a part in many films, the most infamous of which is Thailand’s iconic Maya Bay, made famous by Leonardo di Caprio’s film The Beach, which became overrun with movie fans and only recently reopened after four years of closure, with pre-booked only visits.

If you happen to visit the Caribbean, Pirates of the Caribbean was filmed on St Vincent, where Wallilabou Bay became Port Royal, and of course, Dr No and Thunderball were located on various beaches in Jamaica.

However, whilst cinema may have encouraged visits to certain destinations, they tend to be part of a holiday trip. Only hard-core movie enthusiasts will trek into the mountains of Tongariro National Park in New Zealand to view some of the major scenes from the Lord of the Rings. Still, as there are over 150 locations in the country relating to the LOTR Trilogy, there is plenty to see without venturing too far afield, such as the actual Hobbiton set situated in Matamata on the North Island or where Tom Cruise found himself in trouble at Milford Sound in Mission Impossible – Fall Out. 

So, movie locations can be easily reached, even if it’s not your main reason for travelling to the destination. The lasting effect of cinema on tourism can be shown by the fact that over 300,000 people a year are drawn to Salzburg because of The Sound of Music, which, by 2025, will be 60 years old!