- Potentially 1 million film tourists could visit India by 2022 with an expected spending on an average of US$3000 per tourist
- For travel and tourism benefits, it is suggested that policy initiatives be undertaken to simplify, incentivize and promote filming at locations
EY and the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry report ‘Building brand India through film tourism’ launched recently at the third edition of the Global Film Tourism Conclave shares suggested avenues for collaboration and policy initiatives that the industry can undertake towards making films an effective investment medium to enable destination tourism in India.
There is a potential for upto a million film tourists to visit India by 2022 which could result in revenues of upto US$ 3b. Film tourism is a concept conceived from the influential value that a film creates in the viewers’ minds. Consequently, film tourism creates a desire to visit the said location.
The Indian film industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the country today and has grown from INR122b in 2016 to INR156b in 2017, representing a growth rate of 28%. It is also one of the largest producers of cinematographic films in the world and the projected size of the industry is estimated to reach INR 204b by 2019. Film tourism offers several direct benefits including revenue and employment generation, technology transfer in production, etc. The induced benefits of tourism include awareness and the creation and shaping of attractions.
To transform film location to tourism destinations, the report suggests the following:
- Simplifying the administrative process
State Governments must consider setting up of online portals for single window clearance facility towards all filming permissions. A state level portal providing details such as permits, available production resources, etc. will ease the process of production finalisation for film-makers. Some Indian States namely Goa, Gujarat, Jammu & Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh already have a single window clearance system, others could follow suite.
- Incentivizing film productions in locations
The State Governments could offer different types of incentives to boost the production sector in the form of cash grands, tax credits, tax holiday or breaks, equity investments in film projects, increase in the number of cinema halls, to name a few. Incentive programs provide direct and indirect economic and fiscal benefits that extend beyond production activities that qualify for the credit. These benefits include increased employment opportunities, growth in direct and indirect taxes, increased tourism, development of content production industry infrastructure such as studios and service providers, among others.
- Promote filming destinations
State Governments could undertake soft measures for promoting filming destinations.
Some such measures include the setting up of film based theme parks, organizing film festivals periodically, hosting award shows, film seminars and film societies, boosting the safety and security by establishing help lines, and compulsory registration of tourist guides operators, etc.
Utkarsh Sanghvi, Partner- Indirect Taxation, EY India, says, “Cinema should be a priority sector for policy making as film tourism offers several direct and induced benefits. For simplifying, incentivizing, and promoting film production in India, it would be pertinent to setup film commissions or such similar quasi-governmental, non-profit, public independent bodies both at the central and state levels to serve as the focal point for film producers wanting to shoot in the country and/or state.”
Inadequate basic infrastructure such as roads, inland water transport, air connectivity, etc. acts as the biggest hindrance to the Indian film tourism industry. There is an urgent need for investment in infrastructure linking roads, railways and airports, to curtail such hindrances and provide basic infrastructure support to film tourism.
Over the years, several destinations have gained in terms of tourist influx by being the venue/ location of popular domestic and international cinema.
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