Raise a hand who's ever felt the urge to book an epicurean holiday to sunny Sicily, Jennifer Coolidge-style, after binging season two of White Lotus, or has dreamed of drinking champagne by the quayside with the Eiffel Tower for a view in the City of Lights, as seen on Emily in Paris?
This cinematic imagery has influenced the culture for a while now, and the more you think about it, it's no wonder it's exerting an impact on which destinations rank highest on bucket lists, what's trending in traveler circles, and even on the way people travel.
In 2024, the ‘set-jetting' trend is showing no signs of slowing down, as research by Webjet suggested, with some of our favorite TV shows returning for new seasonal runs and promising Hollywood blockbusters fueling a surge in bookings for their real-life filming locations.
You shouldn't jump on every bandwagon, and we certainly wouldn't rush to endorse the brow-rising ‘slum tourism' taking place across South America, but maybe this one in particular isn't so bad, considering how amazing these 7 destinations are:
It's been over two decades since Gladiator first graced our screens, and 2024 will see the worldwide release of the long-anticipated sequel to the Ridley Scott classic, again directed by Scott himself, filmed mostly in Ouarzazate, in Morocco.
This ancient city provided the setting for Gladiator‘s principal photography all those years ago, and it has continued to attract visitors due to its cultural wealth and proximity to nature: it is the gateway to the Sahara Desert and a popular pilgrimage site for Bedouin traveling groups.
The stone-built Aït Benhaddou village, just west of Ouarzazate, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site dating back centuries, and its landmark fortified gates are certain to serve as stand-in for the Roman city walls a gladiator-clad Paul Mescal will stomp through.
Following the worldwide success of season two of White Lotus, it should come as no surprise that the next installment in the Mark White-written universe, now set in Thailand, is predicted to boost tourism in the Southeast Asian country.
With previous seasons having been filmed exclusively across Four Seasons properties, we can expect the third entry to also be hosted by the household name, which has at least four such listings across tropical Thailand.
Though it's still early to tell which location has been selected, we will take a wild guess and go with Ko Samui, as it is a remote, paradisaical island, a running theme in the Mike White-written show, and the Four Seasons hillside resorts provides the perfect setting for a scandalous mystery to unravel.
Jeju Island, South Korea
One of the most streamed shows on Netflix, Squid Game is expected to make a comeback in 2023, and its parent country – South Korea – is bracing for a new surge of dystopia-loving tourists, particularly in areas associated with the franchise, especially Jeju Island.
It came to the wider public's attention after one of the lead characters in the original series, a North Korean escapee named Sae-byeok, mentioned it was her dream to visit the offshore province after winning the games.
Spoiler alert, Sae-byeok may not have got her wish in the end, but diehard fans still get to pay her homage by visiting the volcanic island, packed with beach resorts, hiking trails traversing ancient forests, and tourist-friendly cave systems.
The second Netflix hit on the list, the reimagined Jenna Ortega-starred Wednesday has rekindled a whole generation's interest in Gothic, and the rising number of tourists landing in Romania, where it was shot, is certainly not incidental.
The Eastern European gem is the home of Cantacuzino Castle, the real-life Nevermore Academy, and dozens of other imposing medieval structures shrouded in myth and folkloric traditions, including Bran Castle, linked to the legend of Count Dracula.
In fact, the Romanian heartland is perfect for experiencing the eeriness and somber tones of Wednesday, with pointy-spire-dotted small towns like Sighișoara and Brașov looking as if they jumped out of the pages of a dark fantasy book.
Yet another Netflix series, Emily in Paris has gone viral for depicting a romanticized, picture-perfect view of the French capital, which many of those who have been will dispute, but it's also helped shine light on lesser-known spots Americans would not normally go out of their way to visit.
One of them is Provence, a region in Southwest France straddling the Mediterranean Sea and bounded by the Alps, full of quaint, car-free hilltop villages settled as early as Roman times and famous for its vast expanse of lavender fields and strong viticulture.
Emily is returning for a fourth season in early 2024, but if you've been watching the latest episodes back to back, wondering where could possibly be those gorgeous countryside locations, the picturesque town of Gordes, in the heart of Provence, is a good place to start.
There is a third Big Fat Greek Wedding in the making, and rest assured it will have us falling in love with Greece's warm culture, its hospitable locals, and ancient traditions all over again. This time, it's the Ionian gem of Corfu that should be on your radar.
Not only is it where filming took place, but it is an island of inestimable cultural value, having been mentioned in the foundational, greatest piece of Greek literature ever written, Homer's Odyssey, and with a Venetian-modelled capital that's been added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites.
Of course, Corfu is just as popular a holiday hotspot for its soft, golden-sand beaches bounded by the turquoise Mediterranean – nothing will get you in the mood for a riotous Greek wedding quite like an evening apéro in Paleokastritsa – its whitewashed villages, and rugged nature.
With a new series of the long-running Outlander hit show on the horizon, it's only natural that interest in Scottish getaways will see yet another uptick in 2024.
Taking into account the stunning natural scenery used as a backdrop during filming, we can't really blame hardcore fans for taking that long Transatlantic flight.
Outlander follows the journey of Claire, an adventurous 20th-century English nurse who accidentally travels two centuries back in time to a tumultuous Scotland on the brink of revolution and ends up falling in love with a young Scottish rebel.
From the narrow alleyways of Edinburgh, the elegant, beautifully Gothic Scottish capital, to the desolate wilderness of the Highlands, where some of the show's most emblematic scenes unravel, this is a destination certain to inspire wonder, whether you dig Diana Gabaldon's mythical universe or not.
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