IF the local authorities are looking for other ways to advertise the island, getting away from the standard sun and sand cliche, perhaps they should take a look at the film world. According to new research from Halifax Travel Insurance, locations featured in films and novels can benefit from a boost in tourism from Britain of up to 30 per cent. More than one in four people consulted (27 per cent) say they have chosen holiday destinations as a result of reading about them in a novel or seeing them in a movie or TV series, a trend which has been dubbed set jetting. The same proportion say movies and books have a major impact on the places they want to visit in their lives. A whopping 30 per cent of people say they are more interested in visiting New Zealand as a direct result of watching the Lord of the Rings triology, while Alex Garland's The Beach and the film adaptation starring Leonardo DiCaprio has boosted Thailand's popularity by 19 per cent. It's not just Hollywood blockbusters which are feeding the phenomenon. Less mainstream films are also having a significant impact on British tourist habits. Fourteen per cent of British adults say they now want to visit Californian wine country as a result of Sideways, the moving comedy about friendship, love and regret. A more modest five per cent have put Bolivia on their must-visit list as a result of seeing The Motorcycle Diaries, the film adaptation of Che Guevara's journals written while travelling in South America in 1952. Novels are also influencing the choice of holiday destination. The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency has given Botswana a small tourist boost (four per cent), while The Da Vinci Code has had a profound effect on the Scottish town of Rosslyn and the Church of Saint Sulpice in Paris. Other popular destinations this year include the Amalfi coastline featured in the Scarlett Johansson film A Good Woman. Madagascar has been popularised by the Dreamworks animated family movie Madagascar. Ainwick Castle in Northumberland, which stands in for Hogwarts School in the Harry Potter films, has seen tourism rise by 16 per cent.
The most recent films made in Majorca were Four Songs, starring Stanley Tucci, shot mainly in Deya and the Tramuntana mountains, and the Spanish-American co-production The Kovak Box, starring Oscar-winner Timothy Hutton, both shot this year. In the past, the railway station in Soller has stood in for India in The People's Princess, a Princess Di biopic, while the Raixa estate and Formentor featured in Agatha Christie's Evil Under the Sun, which starred Peter Ustinov.