The use of film as a tool for local tourism promotion has not been utilised much in most African countries. The recent Kigali Audio Visual forum, which brought together various local and international film lovers, and government officials, discussed the various challenges that hinder film tourism.
Sigmund Elias Holm, a board member of the Association of Film Commissioners International, and head of Western Norway Film Commission, Bergen, Norway said film tourism has recently yielded great returns.
Films such as the 2013 film Frozen, which was a collaboration between Norway, Walt Disney production company and other travel partners, is an example of a successful film tourism project.
“This film became the biggest animation film of all time, the 13th highest grossing film in history, four places behind Black Panther,” he said.
Site visits to Norway tourism website tripled, while the search for flights from the US to Norway rose by 150 per cent within a year.
Rarely in Africa has film been used for tourism promotion. There are only a few examples such as South Africa’s Shaka Zulu film.
In a bid to tap into film tourism, the government launched Rwanda; The Royal Tour as part of the Visit Rwanda campaign. The 2018 documentary is directed by Peter Greenberg, a renowned American journalist, and aims to showcase the country’s tourism offering.
James Ndahiro, the chairman of the Rwanda Stock Exchange said the film industry offers great potential especially in job creation for the youth.
A single film project is capable of employing between 800 to 1,000 people. Clare Akamanzi, the chief executive officer of the Rwanda Development Board said film tourism is a great tool for boosting tourism and trade.
“We are working on several policies to nurture the film industry such as making access to film equipment easier through favourable tax incentives,” said Ms Clare Akamanzi.
The government through RDB and the Ministry of Sports and Culture plans to establish a film office. “This is will help spearhead and co-ordinate the development and implementation of frameworks, skill development and tax incentives,” she added