People travel for all sorts of reasons: food, culture, history…Jon Snow. With the rise of blockbuster TV series like Game of Thrones and The Crown, more people are booking vacations just to step foot in the worlds of their favorite shows. In fact, one in five travelers have gone somewhere because they saw that place on a TV show. Now, the tourism industry is accommodating these fans through a phenomenon called “set jetting.”
Luxury tour operator Black Tomato just launched a new portfolio of itineraries inspired by shows like Twin Peaks, Westworld, and The Young Pope, and has seen a dramatic increase in the number of people asking to visit set locations from their favorite shows. As Black Tomato co-founder Tom Marchant explains, “Around 40 percent of travelers planning trips to Iceland last year referenced the desire to visit places they’d seen on Game of Thrones and that’s why we’re offering tailor-made itineraries.”
Zicasso, a luxury travel agency, saw a spike in TV tourism as well, and began to offer trips highlighting locations from Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey, and more. But it’s not about just visiting the places; these fans want “to immerse themselves in the culture and appreciate the history of these destinations,” says Steve Yu, Vice President of Marketing for Zicasso. That might mean spending the night in a tenth century castle or indulging in a royal feast.
Tourism boards are now offering guided and self-guided tours to follow in the footsteps of famous characters, too. The London Pass, which offers multi-site, discount tickets, just launched a themed walking tour inspired by Sherlock Homes to honor the 125th anniversary of the publication of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s first short story as well as to cash in on the popularity of the current television series starring Benedict Cumberbatch.
The Sorrel River Ranch and Spa in Utah from HBO’s Westworld.
Here are a few of the most popular TV-themed tours.
The Crown: England and Scotland
As part of its new itineraries, Black Tomato is giving The Crown fans access to locations that highlight the early days of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. The trip begins in London with stops at St. James’s Palace, Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace, and more before heading over to Gleneagles, Scotland, one of the Royal family’s favorite escapes. There you’ll explore the lochs and estates featured in the show and test your skills at several royal pursuits like shooting and archery.
Game of Thrones: Croatia
Zicasso’s Game of Thrones: A Unique Tour of Croatia explores the many breathtaking scenes of Croatia’s coastline depicted in the series, and not only do you get to visit actual filming locations, but the trip also includes activities like a tasting tour in the town of Ston that includes some of the most coveted oysters in the world.
Twin Peaks: Washington State
Though Twin Peaks just made its TV comeback, Black Tomato is already offering a themed tour based on the show. Travelers will start in Seattle before venturing out to the snowy mountains of Olympic National Park, and eventually over to Snoqualmie, the real setting for the fictitious town of Twin Peaks. You’ll also visit Snoqualmie Falls, the iconic waterfalls that appear in the show’s opening credits, and stay at the Salish Lodge & Spa, known in the series as the iconic Great Northern Hotel.
Westworld‘s all about dramatic landscapes, so Black Tomato has curated a trip to embrace them. Guests are brought to Sorrel River Ranch, set in the midst of Moab’s rusty red cliffs, before being driven in a vintage Bentley convertible along State Route 128 outside Arches National Park in Utah, the backdrop to the show. They’re then taken on for a guided horseback tour around Dead Horse Point State Park, where the mysterious Man in Black (Ed Harris) was filmed.