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Thailand seduces the 7th art

02/07/2020 654 Views

If you are told Very Bad Trip, The Beach, The Impossible... Can you guess what these films have in common? They were all shot in Thailand! But why is Thailand so popular with the film industry and TV shootings? 

Discover a multicultural country with diverse landscapes and life-size Hollywood scenes.


What is film-tourism?

Cine tourism, or film tourism, is a form of tourism aimed at enhancing a territory or a destination through cinema. 

Today the visual media have a significant impact on the general public. Focusing the spotlight on places, lifestyles and putting forward costumes and traditions, helps to promote the environment of the destination that serves as a backdrop. This can seduce spectators and lead the public to choose this place as a holiday destination.

This “filmic territorial placement” is a strategy aimed at attracting filming to destinations, perceiving economic and communicational benefits, but it is above all a real image issue that creates at the destination an identity in the minds of the spectators and in their representations. 

The film-tourism is therefore a good strategy to highlight a destination and give it an attractiveness, and Thailand understood it well...

Thailand and cinema 

The Thai Tourism Authority has expressed its willingness to develop the country through measures that will encourage international filmmakers to come, in order to enhance the image of Thailand and make it one of the best destination for filming locations in the world.

Thailand is a country with diverse landscapes and unique scenery. This allows to have a multitude of choices when it comes to shooting locations. In order to adapt to this Hollywood opening, the Thai Ministry of Sport was entrusted with the task of defining the best shooting spots at competitive prices with excellent quality/price ratios.

Shooting scenes in unique settings 

In Thailand, filmmakers are spoilt for choice when shooting future blockbusters. In the north they will find mountainous landscapes, forests and plains. There are many valleys where rice grows and ethnic minorities live. The north is little frequented, it is the medicinal herbs and silk that are cultivated there, the landscapes are formed by arid plateaus with poor and hard soils, contrary to the centre of the country which is the fertile and highly populated basin with a climate conducive to the development of agriculture. 

But it is especially the south of the country that will interest Hollywood with its beaches, islands and dense coasts and shores! 

It is through these idyllic landscapes of South Thailand that you find the scenery of the famous James bond «L'homme au pistolet d'or», shot at the beach of Phang Nga on the island of Koh Ping Kan. Famous for its decor and its rock Koh Tapu, the island is now called «James Bond Island». 

Koh Tapu Rock, Koh Ping Kan Island

The Thai countryside offers rustic and suitable scenery to retrace historical moments, such as the film The Tear, shot in the Bangkok countryside. The true story of an American journalist who covers the capture of Phnom Penh by the Khmer Rouge and saved by his Thai assistant will win 3 Oscars in the film including the best photograph.

The capital of the country, Bangkok, is also glorious on screen! More recently it was in the second installment of the Very Bad Trip saga that we had the opportunity to see it on screen, between the crowded neighborhoods and its inhabitants, the historic temples or the festive atmosphere and the high skyscrapers of the capital. More than Bangkok, the film also brings viewers to the Chao Praya River and the Andaman Sea!


The Consequences: Mass tourism and the degradation of places

Tourism professionals have made this film tourism in Thailand an attractive way to discover the country with tours dedicated to key places seen on the big screens.

Maya Bay, Phi Phi Lee Island

The Thai island of Phi Phi Lee off the coast of Phuket is a mythical place of the film The Beach with Leonardo Dicaprio and Guillaume Canet. A veritable postcard landscape, the Bay of Maya has been so popular with tourists that today the Thai authorities had to deny access. This massification of tourism in this place has led to soil erosion and a very strong damage to the coral reefs due to pollution of the engines of the boats. Today the island is closed to the public until the ecosystem of the area returns to normal and is fully restored, and that will take time… 

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