The Impact of Filmmaking on Tourism and the Devlopment of Creative Centers

Economist and social scientist Richard L. Florida in his book The Rise of the Creative Class makes the argument that every human is creative. Florida suggests that all jobs should become creative. “The only way forward is to make all jobs creative jobs, infusing service work, manufacturing work, farming, and every other form of human endeavor with creativity and human potential” (XIV). All jobs have the ability to encompass creativity.

“First, creativity is essential to the way we live and work today, and in many senses it always has been” (15).

While reading Florida this week I was thinking about the concept of innovation and how it impacts the way that we view creative centers. I used to always look at other places like Los Angeles and New York as entertainment centers because of the way that entertainment centers accumulate in these areas, but after our discussions in class and looking at Florida’s argument I realize that I’ve been looking at it the wrong way. New York and Los Angeles are still major centers, but they aren’t the only place where entertainment can be produced. “Creative centers provide the integrated ecosystem or habitat where all forms of creativity— artistic and cultural, technological and economic— can take root and flourish” (186).

It reminds me of Field of Dreams “If you build it, he will come.” The creatives will establish the creative center then once its established or at least has a base then the rest of the world will follow in the hopes of doing the same thing in that area. I found the comparison of Ray creating a baseball field so that the Chicago White Sox will come to creating a creative center where other artists will follow and creative and industrial center.  “Ray. People will come, Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past.

Last semester I took a class on cinema and the city where we discussed the concepts of urban centers and peripheries. I found that I was relating the concepts of the class to Florida’s book.

The center of the urban city is often impacted more so by the peripheries and vice versa. The center impacts the peripheries.

When creatives move to a new area they “look for abundant high-quality amenities and experiences, an openness to diversity of all kinds, and above all else the opportunity to validate their identities as creative people” (186).

I found myself looking at film and how if it’s a runaway production for either creative or economic reasons it often has a direct impact on tourism in a particular area. In the class last semester we looked at Lost and Translation and Slumdog Millionaire and how the films represent the peripheries within the city. The tourism industry also looks at the way that these films portray the city and change tourism destinations based around the films and locations that the characters are represented in. So basically films impact the way that tourism operates. People are no longer just touring urban centers, but are now able to tour urban peripheries as a result of the way the film represents the city.

Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo, Japan. There is one scene in the beginning of the film where Bill Murray passes through this area in his cab.

There are now Lost in Translation tours in Tokyo, Japan where you can visit a lot of the locations featured in the film and many of

the locations were lesser known areas in regards to tourism. They weren’t necessarily the most popular destinations.

There are tours through the Dharavi slum in Mumbai, India where Slum Dog Millionaire was filmed. “Reality Tours charges $10 or $20 a person,

Reality Tours provides tours through Dharavi.

Reality Tours provides tours through Dharavi.

depending on length of the tour, and pledges to donate 80% of after-tax profits to local charities. Though the business hasn’t yet cleared a profit, it paid for a community center.”

Outlander has increased tourism to Scotland particularly the highlands.

Outlander has increased tourism to Scotland particularly the highlands.

A few weeks ago I posted about the Starz television show Outlander. The show has significantly increased tourism to the Scottish highlands. It’s interesting that once a film is made in a particular location it has a direct impact on the way a person sees the location. Locations in films almost create an imagined perception about a certain place. Tourism allows for this perception to become real, while also fulfilling an imagined fantasy.

The James Bond franchise which I posted about last week also has had a significant impact on tourism; just look at all the

James Bond Tourism Campaign for Great Britain.

James Bond Tourism Campaign for Great Britain.

locations and the way they are presented within the different films. The way that a film represents a location impacts the way that others view it.

Its interesting reading Florida and looking back on Hortense Powermaker’s argument about there being a dualism between business and creativity “The essential attitude in Hollywood, and out of it too, is to try and escape this essential dualism: making movies must either be business or art, rather than both (Powdermaker 25). Looking at this dualism through Florida’s argument is that it doesn’t have to be a dualism because business can encapsulate creativity. The two can work together to create innovation.

“Innovation happens anywhere and everywhere, and more often than not it comes from small things. We need to see all members of society as potential innovators, stoke their innovative potential, and extend the definition of innovation beyond technology and R& D to include investment in the arts, in culture, and in every other form of creativity” (389). Anyone can be an innovator and anyone can be creative. Every job can be a creative one. We have the ability as humans to develop and innovate the economy through the ability to utilize creativity in all aspects of life not just economically.

“Today, for perhaps the first time in human history, we have the opportunity to align economic and human development. This is embedded in and driven by the very underlying logic of the Creative Economy— its further development turns on its ability to utilize ever more talent and more creative capacity”  (400).

Extra Reading if you’re Interested:

Here’s an article on the increase in tourism to Japan as a result of Lost in Translation.

Here’s a travel guide for places to visit in Tokyo from Lost in Translation 

Here’s an article on tourism within the slums.

Here’s an article on the boost in tourism to Scotland as a result of Outlander.

Here’s a website on Tourism in Scotland.

Here’s an article on increase in tourism as a result of Skyfall.

VisitBritain launches James Bond Tourism Campaign


Florida, Richard L. The Rise of the Creative Class: And How It’s Transforming Work, Leisure, Community and Everyday Life. New York, NY: Basic, 2002. Print.

Powdermaker, Hortense. Hollywood, the Dream Factory; an Anthropologist Looks at the Movie-makers. Boston: Little, Brown, 1950. Print.

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