Bollywood and Tourism?

What ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ did for Spain!



Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif are all set to be in the Valley for the longest shooting stint Kashmir has seen in the last 12 years. Shooting for ‘Bang Bang’ - Siddharth Anand’s official remake of the Tom Cruise starer - ‘Knight and Day’, the crew is expected to shoot in Kashmir over a nearly 50-day long schedule. This comes soon after parts of Late Yash Chopra’s ‘Jab Tak Hai Jaan’ was shot in some of Kashmir’s most romantic, recognizable locales. Last week I also spoke to Ayan Mukherjee, the Director of Wake-up Sid and came to know that he will be in Kashmir this winter for his next movie ‘Yeh Jawani Hai Deewani’, starring Ranbir Kapoor and Deepika Padukone. Ranbir Kapoor had earlier shot in Kashmir for his biggest hit thus far – ‘Rockstar’.
So Bollywood is returning to Kashmir, and returning in a big way. That we know. But what can Bollywood’s “homecoming” do for brand ‘Kashmir’? That is the real question. And that is where our government and the Tourism Ministry need to smarten up and emulate. 2012 was a golden year for Tourism in Kashmir. Quoting from Mr. Masood Hussain’s piece “Paradise Regained: Has normalcy been restored to Kashmir, finally?” for the Economic Times, by October 2012, Kashmir had hosted 27,956 foreign tourists and 1,042,431 domestic tourists from India.
However, the fact is that Kashmir’s Tourism Industry is still nascent and untapped – its true potential unrealized due to lackluster and at times even obstructionist policies by the State Government. And, besides other corrective and positive measures, Bollywood can go a long way to boost brand ‘Kashmir’. And here’s a reason why I think so:    
In 2011, the light-hearted, star-studded Hrithik Roshan and Katrina Kaif movie ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ was a blockbuster hit. It was also one of the most brilliant recent strategic tie-ups between a government and the entertainment industry. Showcasing Spain’s breathtaking natural beauty, culture and high class infrastructure, the movie was dubbed as “a three hour advertisement for Spain Tourism”. And that it was! The movie single-handedly boosted Spanish Tourism from India by a staggering 32% during the first six months of 2011, as the Spanish Tourism Board used the movie to market brand Spain and its new slogan – “I need Spain”.
And this relationship between Bollywood and Tourism isn’t a new one. Yash Chopra’s iconic movies, including ‘Dilwale Dulhani Le Jayenge’ gave an enormous fillip to Swiss Tourism from India. In 2010, the Swiss Government awarded Chopra the ‘Swiss Honor’ for the role his films had played in promoting Switzerland as a tourism destination.
Spain Tourism’s marketing tie-up with the producers of ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’ is a case-study that our government should study and study well. The Swiss Tourism Board, as a part of the collaboration, went out of the way to facilitate shooting locations, infrastructure and logistics for the shooting crew. And consequently, most of these locations that the movie has highlighted with great efficacy and vibrancy have become a huge draw with Indian tourists. According to Ms. Kashmira Commisariat, COO (Outbound) of Kuoni India – SOTC, “We have witnessed a substantial increase in the enquiries as well as booked holidays for Spain after the destination was promoted in the popular Bollywood movie. For instance, with the popularity of Spain, we have started getting queries for destinations like Costa Brava, Seville, Pamplona, Barcelona and Valencia (that were) featured in the movie”. SOTC even came up with a 7-day “exclusive package”, highlighting the La Tomatina festival featured in the movie – perhaps one of its most thrilling parts. La Tomatina is a festival that is held in the southern Spanish town of Buñol, in which participants throw tomatoes at each other. It is held on the last Wednesday in August, a tradition that goes back to 1945. According to the Spain Tourism officials, more than 70,000 Indians visited the country in 2010, with a 32% increase in the first half of 2011.
SO WHAT KASHMIR CAN DO? Good Question! The tourism ministry of the State can establish facilitation offices in Bombay and Delhi that focus on attracting Bollywood to Kashmir besides facilitating their operations in the Valley. But more importantly the State Government needs to proactively seek marketing tie-ups with movies that are being shot in Kashmir. The upcoming Ayan Mukherjee movie with Ranbir Kapoor and the upcoming Hrithik Roshan starrer ‘Bang Bang’ are two great opportunities for marketing tie-ups. The movies can be used to market brand ‘Kashmir’ as a world-class, scintillating tourism-destination over different realms of the electronic media. With promotions, brand barters and a 360 degree marketing strategy – besides a policy to triple our private tourism infrastructure (better hotels and facilities), Kashmir can and should set a target of 3 to 5 million tourists per year by 2018. It’s time to go the Spain way. Domestic tourism from India, I believe is the most important market-segment for Kashmir Tourism.

(Junaid Azim Mattu is the Srinagar District President of J&K Peoples’ Conference. Feedback at

Lastupdate on : Fri, 28 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 28 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 29 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST

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