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Most popular set-jetting TV destinations

Published 8 months ago

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Whether you know it as set-jetting, location vacationing or movie tourism, holiday-goers are increasingly inspired by what they see on TV when it comes to getting away.

To get the heart of this burgeoning travel trend, we’ve analysed Google search data to reveal the most popular global TV set-jetting destinations.

Birdseye view of the organe-hued rooftops of Dubrovnik, Croatia

What is set-jetting?

The basic idea behind set-jetting is simple to grasp: it’s a term used to describe the growing tendency for people to travel to destinations they’ve seen spotlighted in their favourite TV shows or movies. 


While set-jetting is certainly on the up, it’s actually been around for decades. Take the James Bond film, Goldfinger. The iconic mountain car chase scene had a positive impact on tourism to the Swiss Alps in the 60s. A 21st-century example is Peter Jackson’s Oscar-acclaimed trilogy, The Lord of the Rings (2001-03), which continues to drive fans to visit New Zealand’s varyingly idyllic and rugged landscapes. 


In recent times, set-jetting has developed into something more structured, with luxury travel agencies now offering extended trips to in-demand movie destinations.

House from Hobitton in Lord of the Rings film trilogy

Key findings

With over 647 million Google searches globally for TV show filming locations, our research discovered the places fans are most keen to visit.

  • Netflix’s Virgin River is the most Google-searched show location, with a vast 103,310 Google searches globally

  • Stranger Things is the second most Google-searched location with 80,110

  • ITV’s Happy Valley comes in third place with 37,890 Google searches, with over 2,000 more Google searches than HBO’s Game of Thrones

  • Top 2023 hits such as HBO’s The Last of Us and Netflix’s Wednesday also appear in the top 20

A separate survey conducted in Q4 2022, revealed that 96% of travellers have visited places associated with their favourite television shows or movies at least once.1

Linear broadcasting is now just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to accessing TV. With 37% of people globally paying for streaming video services, shows are being consumed on a larger scale than ever before.2


This has contributed to a marked rise in TV tourism, with popular culture having an increasing stranglehold on travel in the last 5 years according to a report by Visit Britain.3

Lead male and female actors from TV series The Last Of Us look out onto Canadian wilderness

Top 20 most-searched-for TV show locations

The following table highlights the top 20 most popular TV show locations tourists are looking to visit by analysing Google search data.

Table showing 20 most popular TV set-jetting locations

Surprisingly, taking the top spot is Netflix’s drama, Virgin River, with 103,310 searches globally in the last 12 months. The series is primarily filmed on Bowen Island, British Columbia, with dramatic mountainous landscapes and scenic lakes as the backdrop. The Virgin River House, known as Breezehurt, is situated in New Westminster, BC. Thankfully, many of the film locations are public spaces that set-jetters can access free of charge. 


The hit sci-fi drama series Stranger Things comes in second with 80,110 searches. This Netflix U.S. series has been a total phenomenon, following a group of kids in the 80s, one with superpowers, battling the Demogorgon from the upside down. 


The series, set in fictional Hawkins, Indiana, is mostly filmed in the southeastern state of Georgia, U.S.. The Byers’ house is based in Fayetteville, GA, while the likes of Hawkins National Laboratory can be seen at the abandoned psychiatric hospital near Emory University.


In third place is ITV’s hugely popular crime drama series Happy Valley. Filmed across West Yorkshire, the series had 37,890 global searches in the last year. It was filmed in the Calder Valley region, while Catherine’s house is located in Hebden Bridge. Since the final series aired, set-jetting fans have started forking out hundreds of pounds to tour key set locations across Yorkshire. 

Green nubuck bag sat on passenger side seat in cream car

Emerging popular TV show locations

From this research, we can also see newer series featuring in the top 10 most-searched-for filming locations. Emerging favourites such as HBO’s The White Lotus, Netflix’s Wednesday and HBO’s The Last of Us come in at sixth, seven, and eleventh place respectively, despite only being released in the last two years.


While The White Lotus S2, which features Carl Friedrik bags & luggage, was filmed at the Four Seasons San Domenico Palace in Sicily, Italy. Not only has the Four Seasons seen a huge uptick in website visits and room enquiries, but the entire town of Taormina has benefited from a surge in set-jetting visitors.4


Netflix’s Wednesday was filmed in Cantacuzino Castle, situated in Bușteni, Romania, which was the backdrop for the Nermore Academy school. The show has been credited with bringing a fresh wave of tourism to the Eastern European country.5

Two lead actors in TV series The White Lotus sat at a table overlooking Sicilian coast

Methodology

This data collected on 23rd May 2023 collates the average Google search volume for selected keywords (search terms) around filming locations for the most streamed TV shows over the last 12 months. Examples of the keyword phrases include: ‘Where is [TV Show Title] filmed?’ Or [TV Show Title] filming locations’.

Sources

  1. Forbes
  2. YouGov
  3. Visit Britain
  4. Travel Weekly
  5. Romania Insider