Tourism image of Barcelona through international films




Osácar, Eugeni

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The audiovisual world and, as a result, the images, are a key element of the social, cultural and economic development of the 21st century. Real places transformed in audiovisual locations provoke a conscious or unconscious influence on spectators which induces them to incorporate into their personal imagination the places where their favorite productions are set. A new global survey by TCI Research (2018) reveals the increasing effect films have on international traveler’s choices. 80 million travelers chose their destinations mostly based on movies and TV series. In fact, most urban tourist destinations have observed the importance movies and TV series can have to potentiate the brand image among their potential market. Therefore, this presentation examines the triangle comprised by tourism, movies and city, analyzing, comparing and assessing Barcelona’s tourist image perceived in source markets with the given image in 50 international movies filmed in the city. As the main conclusion, it must be highlighted that Barcelona’s given image in international movies corresponds fundamentally with the city’s perceived image in tourist source markets, as well as with the positioning strategy defined in tourism strategic plans 2015 and 2020. It is, therefore, about the projection of a mainly positive image. Most of the analyzed movies present a modern and open-minded city, with a high cultural component, artistic heritage and architecture, as well as a charming romantic urban space, mostly sunny and with the sea presence for background.Finally, as example of this matter, it presents a comparative between Vicky Cristina Barcelona and Biutiful. Two movies directed respectively by Woody Allen and Alejandro González Iñárritu, shot in Barcelona in the same period, but with a different vision of the city. Dr. Eugeni Osácar is a Professor and research director at CETT-UB, University of Barcelona. He specialises in marketing, heritage, cultural tourism and film tourism. He has directed several projects on film tourism and participated as a speaker in more than 30 international and national congresses, symposiums and seminars. Dr. Osácar has published extensively on the subject of tourism, including the books Barcelona Movie Walks (2013), Catalonia Movie Walks, Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2014) and a new revised and expanded edition of Barcelona, una ciudad de película (2018).



Tourism, Movies, Barcelona, Woody Allen, Alejandro González Iñárrit, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, Biutifu