HOLLYWOOD AND TRADITIONAL LITERARY TOURISM COLLIDES

Gregory Dolgos - May 7, 2012
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Hollywood meets traditional literary tours – it’s the new craze for fanatics of best-seller-novels-turned-to-Hollywood-movies. Not only will they have the chance to see and explore the location where the movie was shot but they will also have the chance to feel the spirit of their heroes through carefully planned itineraries.

The Hunger Games Fan Tours found in Brevard, North Carolina is a great example of this new trend in travel and tours. According to Tammy Hopkins, the co-founder of the said fan tour, “We call this a fandemonium”. She describes the movie enthusiasts as “super fans” who wants to go beyond the locations and really experience the character. Zip-lining through the Pisgah National Forest is one of the activities that can jump start their Hunger Games adventure.

The State Tourism Division made arrangements for activities to be done in the exact movie locations and settings starting from Charlotte to the Blue Ridge Mountains. Avid fans can take classes in archery, to let them experience “hunting”. Other The Hunger Games’ themed survival classes can be taken in the tour like fire making, camouflage, and building shelter to name a few.

The popularity of the tour has significantly risen as Margo Metzer, the spokeswoman for the Division of Tourism, Film and Sports Development confirm that it has been viewed 20,000 times since its online release.

“The Help” Fan Tour is another great example. It has brought thousands to

Greenwood, Mississippi, the small town where the movie was filmed. The executive director of Greenwood’s Convention and Visitors’ Bureau Paige Hunt said that people from the 50 states visit them to see the big houses and neighborhoods featured in the film. Although the book setting is in

1963 Jackson, Mississippi, Jackson’s physical setting does not look the same anymore. Greenwood does, on the other hand, giving the right ambiance for the characters and fans.

Literary Tourism

Mississippi is the home of literary legends such as Williams and Faulkner, as well as Willie Morris, Eudora Welty, Shelby Foote, and Richard Wright. It is a “Literary Mecca” owner of Square Books in Oxford Richard Howorth said. The literary tours started before Faulkner won the

Nobel Prize for his mythical kingdom of Yoknapatawpha, bringing curious people from around the world to see what it is. Two annual events in the town bring in an average of 20,000 enthusiasts a year; The Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha Conference and the Oxford Conference of the book.

This summer in Monroeville, Alabama commemorates the 50th anniversary of the To Kill a Mockingbird’s release, a film based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel of Harper Lee about the 1930s race and redemption in the South. With hopscotch and checkers, fans will celebrate the book and its literary greatness.

There are 78% of Americans who participate in Literary Tours, according to a study in 2009 facilitated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. They spend almost $1000 a trip contributing an average of $192 billion to the US economy making Literary Tourism a great treasure.

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