Over the years, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been host to a number of high-profile films, including Star Wars: The Force Awakens and lesser-known works like Syriana and Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.
With the news that Denis Villeneuve's Dune sequel will shoot in Abu Dhabi later in 2022, tourism throughout the nation is expected to rise even higher. Dubai was just crowned the top tourist destination in the world for 2022 by Tripadvisor's Travellers' Choice Awards.
The travel website described Dubai as a place that blends current culture with history, adventure with top-notch shopping and entertainment. Whether you are attending a performance at the Dubai Opera, taking in the city from the top of the Burj Khalifa, or you simply want to spend the afternoon strolling down Dubai Creek discovering the spice, gold, and textile souks; Dubai offers you many interesting aspects of the city to be discovered by the tourist.
You may skydive over the Palm Jumeirah, ride a high-speed ride at IMG Worlds of Adventure, or float above the desert dunes in a hot air balloon if you're searching for thrills.
Not by chance, many of these components have been seen in a variety of movies over the years. Tom Cruise, for instance, is renowned for scaling the Burj Khalifa in Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol.
According to publicly available data, a blockbuster movie can boost travel to a featured location by just over 30%. The figures were much higher for a particular spot, with tourism numbers rising by as much as 300% when visiting a particular monument.
There are numerous instances where high-grossing ventures have improved tourism statistics. The average number of filming locations increased by 50% as a result of Harry Potter, while certain regions saw increases of up to four times that amount. The Wallace Monument in Scotland had a 300% spike in tourist thanks to Mel Gibson's film Braveheart, while Frozen even contributed to an additional 37% rise in travel to Norway.
Enzo Savio Cusumano, the creator of the travel agency All in One City, commented on the significance of film tourism by saying, "Dubai and the UAE can definitely be a centre for film and TV tourism. However, I believe that in order for that to happen, there needs to be increased public awareness of what and where filming is taking place.
Mission Impossible made it clear, he continued. It wasn't difficult to discern that he was in Dubai because he was ascending the Burj [Khalifa], but audiences might find it more difficult to guess if there aren't any notable monuments nearby. Marketing, in my opinion, becomes essential to drawing more people because, statistically speaking, individuals consider popular culture when making vacation decisions.
Statistics were used in a 2017 Statista article to back up Cusomano's claims. The question posed to respondents in the United Kingdom was "If they had ever visited a film or TV location while on holiday or vacation abroad and how much this influenced (or would influence) their decision to travel to a specific country."
39% of those polled acknowledged having visited a film or television location when travelling abroad. 7% of tourists said it was their main motivation for coming. When you consider the size of the global tourist industry, the numbers are quite staggering.
The UAE will likely have a big impact on how travellers choose where to go if it can keep luring high-profile productions to take advantage of the city’s beautiful architecture and skyline for their movies.
In his final remarks, he stated, that they obviously want as many reasons as possible for individuals to choose to come here. The fact that there are already so many people and industries expanding swiftly leads me to assume that movies will help the country find new opportunities.
In a statement regarding the Dune filming in the UAE, Mohamed Khalifa Al-Mubarak, chairman of the Department of Culture and Tourism - Abu Dhabi and twofour54 Abu Dhabi, said that Dune has once again given the UAE an exciting opportunity to associate the emirate with another major film franchise, allowing us to entice enthusiastic fans and audience members to visit the landscapes that they have seen on screen.
Abu Dhabi is fortunate to have beautiful architecture, natural surroundings, and a unique culture, all of which enhance the beauty of the big screen. We hope that viewers from all around the world will have the chance to travel to the Liwa desert and discover an entirely new cosmos.
Villeneuve continued, "We really anticipate returning to the magnificent Abu Dhabi sand dunes and bringing Arrakis to life for 'Dune: Part Two'." Timothée Chalamet, Zendaya, Rebecca Ferguson, and Javier Bardem are all returning to the movie, which has recently begun production. The new cast members include Souheila Yacoub, Christopher Walken, Florence Pugh, Léa Seydoux, and Austin Butler.
For those who have seen the movie ‘Dune’; talks of a sequel shouldn’t come as a surprise. The anticipation of a follow up movie to be shot in whole or part in the scenic city of Dubai should whet the appetite for moviegoers and the people of Dubai as the city once again takes centre stage in global cinematic tourism.