International Peer-Reviewed Journal  
*Urvi Parikh  
Tourism and Bollywood go hand in hand. If you wonder how, then let me explain. From shooting films in  
exotic locations like Switzerland and Spain to conducting award shows in places like Madrid, Tampa  
Bay, Singapore and others, Tourism has got immense boost from Bollywood, so much so that many  
Bollywood celebrities have been signed up as the brand ambassadors for a particular state or country’s  
tourism board. While Ranveer Singh is the ambassador for Switzerland, Shah Rukh Khan is for Dubai.  
Priyanka Chopra endorses Arunachal Pradesh whereas Amitabh Bachchan has been the face of Gujarat  
for years. With Bollywood spreading its wings globally, there are many nations that are willing to offer  
subsidies, only to put themselves on the global map. Films like Zindagi Naa Milegi Dobara, Befikre,  
Happy New Year are some of the recent examples of how Bollywood has ventured into the foreign lands  
and made a mark for themselves by making countries like Spain, Paris and Dubai a character in their film.  
It has made the audience aware about the country and its culture and boosted tourism growth immensely.  
Keywords : Bollywood, Tourism, Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Tourism  
If there is one industry that has gained immense boost in the past few years then it is surely Tourism. A boom  
in the tourism world has been observed in the past decade and there are various factors responsible for it. Be  
it in the financial capacity or be it the urge to explore new places or be it the drop in rates for tours, there are  
factors which have instigated more tourists over the years. Other factor, which is responsible for the growth in  
tourism is Bollywood! Bollywood films and celebrities have created awareness amongst the audience and  
have influenced them and their choices for travel. There is no space in tourism that Bollywood hasn’t explored.  
The stars have romanced in the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland, they have kissed and got drunk at  
the Eiffel tower in Paris, they have sung Hindi songs and danced to its tunes in Europe, they have celebrated  
friendship in Spain and they have shot for some high-on-action stunts in places like Bulgaria and Austria.  
Not just global, but Bollywood has been hugely responsible for promoting tourism within India too. There  
have been many films and filmmakers who have scouted for unheard locations and captured its beauty on  
camera, making people eager to visit a particular place. The way Dil Chahta Hai explores Goa, no other film  
does. Shoojit Sircar’s film like Piku or Mani Ratnam’s Yuva explores Kolkata while Rakeysh Omprakash  
Mehra’s Rang De Basanti takes us through Delhi and Punjab and Imtiaz Ali has made us sit and take notice  
of Shimla, Manali in Jab We Met and the rawness of Haryana in Highway.  
With Bollywood stars becoming the brand ambassadors of various states in India and also different nations  
in the world, it only goes on to show how Bollywood is soon becoming the new face of the Tourism industry.  
In this article, we are trying to explain how Tourism has become a character in Bollywood films and how it has  
resulted in a great boom for many.  
Bollywood and its impact on Tourism:  
Bollywood, is undoubtedly the second biggest industry in the world, after Hollywood and enjoys a massive  
fan following. It has a significant influence on the minds of the audience and has often given rise to trends. Be  
it in terms of clothes, hairstyle or now tourism. Given that an approximate of 14 million people enjoy Bollywood  
films on a daily basis, one cannot imagine the extent of its mass appeal. Lately, movies have been affecting  
the choices of the travelers, not just Indian but also global. While Indians are influenced with the portrayal of  
International Peer-Reviewed Journal  
foreign locations in movies, there are many foreigners, who are Bollywood buffs, and have been attracted to  
the heritage culture and not-so-known locations of India, that have been explored in the films.  
Bollywood has solely brought about remarkable changes in the Tourism industry. When Shammi  
Kapoor’s Kashmir Ki Kali released in 1964, it created a massive boom in the tourism in Kashmir. Rajesh  
Khanna and Sharmila Tagore starrer Aradhana popularized Darjeeling, making it one of the most preferred  
romantic destinations of its time. Films like Dil Chahta Hai, Yuva, Kahaani, Delhi 6, Kai Po Che! and  
now Rangoon have influenced the total demand of the packages for places like Goa, Kolkata, Ahmedabad,  
Delhi, Arunachal Pradesh respectively.  
Not just the famous locations, but Bollywood has discovered some lesser heard locations and world heritage  
sites too, in a need to bring about fresh and refreshing locations for the viewers. Apart from the usual studios  
in Mumbai, films like Lagaan, Lootera, Swades, Rang De Basanti have explored the untapped locations of  
Kanuriya, Wai, Khaanyaan and Barna respectively. And it is not just restricted to India. Movies like Zindagi  
Na Milegi Dobara, Befikre, Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham, New York, Queen and  
the recently released Ae Dil Hai Mushkil managed to win the audience’s hearts by promoting tourism about  
countries like Spain, Paris, Europe, London, New York and Austria among others.  
When Hrithik Roshan, Farhan Akhtar and Abhay Deol zoomed off for a bachelors’ trip to Spain, it influenced  
the Indian viewers to an extent that the tourism there experienced a boom as people demanded packages for  
the country’s visit. Dil Dhadakne Do promoted cruise liners and the tourism in Istanbul and their heritage  
hamam baths. Ranveer Singh and Vaani Kapoor romancing Paris and exploring the city’s hottest hang out  
places in Befikre surely made for a great sight. Who wouldn’t want to be proposed at the iconic Eiffel  
Tower? That’s exactly the emotion the filmmaker has explained through the movie. And it not only works in  
the favour of the movie, but is also advantageous to the country and its tourism business. Despite Paris being  
a hot spot with the tourists, there was a lull they experienced after the terror attacks which happened recently.  
That is when Befikre came to their rescue and the French government is hoping that the tourism will be  
restored soon. According to a popular Bollywood portal, Mayor Paris Anne Hidalgo, said, “Paris is a unique  
and magical city for so many reasons, whether because of its culture, fashion, gastronomy … We are resolutely  
determined to reaffirm Paris’s vocation to welcome visitors from all over the world. Paris, a resilient city, has  
known how to bounce back and today invites you to come and discover an innovative and vibrant city. Paris  
will always be Paris.”  
Surveys suggest that Spain Tourism received around 600,000 inquiries from India after the release of Zindagi  
Naa Milegi Dobara. One of the film’s sequences was shot at the famous Tomatino festival, which prompted  
travellers from India to visit Spain. The Spain Tourism Board spent about half a million on marketing campaigns  
using Zindagi... clips. According to the Board, the number of visas issued to Indians, after the movie, went up  
0-60%. Till June that year (before the movie was released in July), 46,000 Indians had visited Spain. “That  
number has multiplied after ZNMD,” said Madhu Salyankar, marketing head of Spain Tourism Board. “We  
offer facilitation with visas, discounts for hotel stays and travel, VAT refund of about 18% as well as faster  
approvals and other such sops,” he added.  
When director Imtiaz Ali explored Czech and Prague in his film Rockstar, he managed to tempt travelers to  
try the destination for their next holiday trip. And not only did it work in favour of the country, but also for the  
filmmaker as the Czech Tourism Board was offering them tax reduction if the film was shot there. According to  
a report in the Economic Times, Indian director of Czech Tourism stressed on the fact that how they offer a  
rebate to Indian filmmakers for shooting there. “We offer up to 20% rebate to filmmakers on their payments,  
to both individuals and companies,” said Radka Neumannova, India director of Czech Tourism, adding, “In  
India, cinema is such a strong media and communication platform...”  
Filmmaker Vipul Shah, who had once shot in London for his movie Namaste London said in an interview,  
Foreign tourism boards in India are increasingly pitching for locations to producers and directors in India  
offering incentives ranging from tax rebate, free stays, visa facilitation, and in certain cases, they even bear  
the cost of production.”  
International Peer-Reviewed Journal  
Box Office India, a popular trade site in Bollywood, quotes Fox Star Studios CEO Vijay Singh, “Film tourism  
is considered a powerful tool to promote tourism destinations and locations in a country. India needs to  
adopt a globally recognised standard to introduce production benefits to boost film production across  
various locations. Production incentives, timely permits, availability of local talent, production resources and  
infrastructure are key ingredients to attract foreign and local productions to shoot in a country. This will  
ensure retention of local productions within the country and help position India as an international filming  
destination globally.”  
Happy New Year was one more such film which received rebate for shooting in Dubai. The movie highlighted  
Dubai tourism through the film - The Burj-Al-Khalifa, the Palm Beach Jumeirah and other major tourist attractions  
were captured in the film, tempting the audience to visit it. A major plus for HNY was that it starred Shah Rukh  
Khan, who enjoys a crazy fan following in the country. He is also the brand ambassador for Dubai tourism  
and hence it worked as a dual advantage for both the movie and the Dubai Tourism Board.  
Dil Se was the first movie to be shot at the picturesque locations of Pangong Lake in Ladakh. This was later  
on picked up by films like 3 Idiots, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Waqt among others. Today, Ladakh is one of the most  
preferred tourist spots in India. Bollywood films have often covered sites which people don’t know  
about. Guru features a song Ek Lo Ek Muft which was shot at the famous Badami Cave Temples. Aishwarya  
Rai Bachchan’s house in Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam features the Vijay Vilas Palace in Mandvi, Gujarat. Amer  
fort of Rajasthan has featured in films like Jodha Akbar, Bajirao Mastani, Veer, etc. Obviously, it will make  
the viewers curious to go and visit the same in person. That is the impact of films on tourism.  
Bollywood Award Shows and Tourism:  
When award shows like International Indian Film Awards (IIFA), TOIFA among others started, it provided lot of  
boost to the tourism of that particular country. IIFA, which has been held in places like Tampa Bay, Singapore,  
Mauritius, Spain among others, offers great discounts and tax rebates in return of promotion and marketing  
at the show. With hoards of Bollywood celebrities attending the show, it is a win-win situation for the tourism  
The country’s culture, traditions, festivals and tourist attractions are visited by the popular celebs, who in turn  
promote them on their social media pages, thus getting the country, the much needed publicity. For instance,  
when IIFA was held in Spain last year, not only the celebrities but also the Indian media and the teams of  
various celebrities traveled to Spain, thus experiencing a new destination. Naturally, it resulted in a boost for  
Spain, which is already on a high post the release of Zindagi Naa Milegi Dobaara.  
Roping in Bollywood stars to promote Tourism:  
When a Shah Rukh Khan invites you to ‘his Dubai’ and takes you around the country, its impact is indescribable.  
When he launched a campaign called #BeMyGuest, it went viral within hours of its launch. The video shows  
SRK meeting tourists who have visited Dubai and treats them as he is the host of the country (read brand  
Amitabh Bachchan has been promoting Gujarat tourism for years now. He is the face of Gujarat and has been  
urging his fans and ardent travelers to explore the state which is famous for many things - Kite Festival,  
Navratri, Wild Ass Sanctuary, Rannotsav etc. Kuch Din Toh Guzaro Gujarat Main became a trend with many  
and was marketed widely by the Tourism Board with hoardings of Big B donning the walls.  
Similarly, stars like Sidharth Malhotra, Ranveer Singh, Parineeti Chopra, Priyanka Chopra are few other celebrities  
who promote tourism in India and globally. While Sidharth is the brand ambassador for New Zealand, Ranveer  
is greatly promoting Switzerland. Parineeti Chopra on the other hand recently explored and promoted Australia  
and Egypt, whereas Priyanka Chopra is endorsing Arunachal Pradesh.  
Dance Tours, Music Concerts and Live Shows!  
Not many would be aware but organizing Bollywood dance tours with popular celebrities gives a great boost  
to tourism. When Happy New Year was about to release, SRK and his team opted for a SLAM tour which  
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was a massive hit. While it worked as a great strategy to promote the movie, it also brought in immense  
popularity for the respective countries.  
Similarly, Salman is soon going to take off for the Da-Bangg tour which will happen in Australia. With Khan  
sharing about the same on social media and publicizing it all over, it will make a great impact for its tourism,  
thus reflecting in its numbers.  
On a concluding note, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that both Bollywood and Tourism go hand-in-hand. Their  
equation is directly proportional to each other i.e. if one increases then the other will definitely increase.  
More the number of movies that highlight a particular country/state, more number of tourists that place will  
enjoy. Be it the rise in the number of tourists in Corsica after the release of Deepika Padukone and Ranbir  
Kapoor’s Tamasha or the hike in the number of people wanting to visit London or Paris after Karan Johar  
explored it further in Ae Dil Hai Mushkil, Bollywood surely influences tourism and is responsible the massive  
boost that has been experienced in the tourism industry.  
Research Scholar, JJT University, Chudella, Jhunjhunu, Rajasthan.  
Email : [email protected] Mob.: 9813419300