Television can have a big influence on our lives. It can be the source of joyous entertainment, escape, and engaging conversations. The best TV can vicariously encourage us to be introspective and grow. Trends suggest its impact has even started to affect the places we choose to travel to.
Strong correlations between popular on-screen settings and the rise in tourist numbers to such destinations are not unusual. In fact, a survey from a travel research group revealed over 80 million people were influenced by film and TV for their travel decisions between 2015 and 2017.
Game of Thrones locations in Croatia, Northern Ireland and Malta have seen huge increases in the number of tourists since the show's inception. Netflix series' like Narcos and Better Call Saul have similarly seen their Columbia and New Mexico locations experience a boost in visitors since their respective releases.
It's not just major American dramas impacting on travel either. The ITV hit Benidorm is well-known to have had an impact on increasing sales to the Spanish resort, and successful British shows like Broadchurch and Downton Abbey, set in Dorset and Hampshire, have revolutionised the UK staycation. Maybe there will be an influx of holidays to Sunderland after the hit Netflix series Sunderland Til' I Die. Who knows?
Because TV and streaming sites have such far-reaching influence across the globe, new worlds have opened up in ways that wouldn't have been possible in the past. A tourist whose idea of places such as Dubrovnik or Albuquerque may have once been minimal, now have emotional connections through their favourite show, evoking a greater interest in further exploration of the area. The earlier mentioned survey also noted that TV-influenced travellers are 19% more likely to take part in cultural and natural activities during their trip. A TV show can bring a whole new meaning to visiting a destination, beyond the sun and beach - the traveller is more likely to be invested in the place emotionally, economically and culturally.
The influence of television on travel is so big now, the other edge of the sword has since revealed itself: over-tourism. Dubrovnik's connection with travellers has become so special that the city's mayor has put in place plans to limit numbers from 8,000 to 4,000 per day in order to preserve the city's Unesco World Heritage status.
It's clear we love to see our favourite TV sights, and we also love to share experiences with friends. Experiences from television-related tourism are 27% more actively shared on social media by travellers. This can only encourage and boost sales to on-screen destinations further, hopefully strengthening economies across the globe and encouraging further traveller exploration.
Here are 5 of the best TV destinations you can visit now: