South Africa’s film industry offers great potential to market and develop destination South Africa, says Professor Karen Harris of the University of Pretoria’s Department of Historical and Heritage Studies.

Presenting research to academics and members of the tourism industry in Pretoria on Friday, Harris said there was a magical connection between tourism and film, while there were also many factors in place allowing South Africa to leverage this connection.

According to Harris, film is well placed to improve the image of country and also to support what a destination has to offer.

Film could feed into destination development, said Harris. Potential products include film sets that can be visited by tourists, walking and audio tours of locations and also film festivals.

Harris emphasised that South Africa’s film industry was attractive to international film makers, adding that movies could be made in the country at a third of the price of the US. Many of the same assets that position the country for tourism also make it an attractive film location, such as the country’s attractive scenery.

According to Harris, collaboration was essential for the tourism sector to capitalise on the film industry. She also suggested that film would be a great medium for the departments of tourism and arts and culture to collaboratively showcase Tourism Month and Heritage Month, which coincide.

The research was presented as part of a Research Seminar last week and was funded by the Department of Tourism.

Harris’s study, as well as the other research presented, is expected to be uploaded on the Department of Tourism’s knowledge portal, which can be access here.