Some of the world’s top travel destinations have reached a stage of notoriety thanks to clever marketing ploys. Because holidaymakers have so many places on the planet to choose from, hotspots that rely on tourism need to do everything they can to stand out from the crowd. Certain places have gained iconic status by capitalising on popular media from mainstream culture and offering an experience that ties in with that. Here are three locations that have become notorious in recent years for doing this.
How did Macao Become the World’s Biggest Gambling Hub?
For decades, Las Vegas was the biggest and most famous gambling hub on earth. It achieved this status thanks to taking advantage of popular culture during various time periods. For instance, in the early days it jumped on music stars like Frank Sinatra. Then, for many years it was boosted by Hollywood films that portrayed it in a glamorous fashion. Mainstream culture has changed, though, and Macao became the latest primary gambling hotspot thanks to that. The East Asian destination recently grew in tandem with the booming online casino sector, which ballooned in the 2000s. It was also helped on by famous gamblers like Cheung Yin Sun, who played baccarat there with Phil Ivey. Budding gamblers can find casino tips by reading about these players, and it can also inspire them to follow their journeys to spots like Macao.
Macao has marketed itself as an upmarket location for modern high rollers. For some of the greatest casino and poker players in the world currently playing at the top, Las Vegas is old hat. Instead, they flock to Macao where they know that they will be surrounded by dedicated gamblers rather than casual players. The stunning resorts in the region reflect the opulence that Macao wants to convey. It’s home to one of the most extravagant casino resorts in the world, the Venetian Macao. The 39-storey behemoth opened in 2007 and has led the way in the city’s rise. It’s the second-largest casino in the world with 6000 slot machines and 800 gaming tables. Places like this attract online players, who are used to having an incredible abundance of choice.
Billund is the Prime Destination for Lego Enthusiasts
An early advert for Legoland Billund.
The quaint town of Billund in Denmark would have probably attracted its fair share of tourists simply thanks to its stunning scenery and surroundings. However, due to the worldwide popularity of Lego, the Danish travel spot has become a buzzing destination for fans of the tiny bricks from all over the world. Tour companies and businesses in the area have capitalised on the fact that the Lego Group was conceived there. Lego began in 1949 and is now the largest toy company in the world. The franchise has been boosted by related media such as films and theme parks, and Billund has been a key recipient of this success.
The main attraction of Billund is the Legoland Billund Resort, which has been open since 1968. It attracts over 1.9 million guests every year, with more than 50 million have visited since it first opened more than fifty years ago. Outside of the country’s capital, Copenhagen, Legoland is Denmark’s primary attraction. All the other numerous Legoland theme parks around the world have been modelled on the one in Billund, which is why so many people want to travel to the source where it all started.
The range of rides and entertainment options at Legoland Billund is hugely impressive but, at the end of the day, it’s still just a theme park-like all the thousands of others around the world. Its unique selling point, however, is Lego, which has some serious pulling power. And the more the Lego franchise spreads across other media, the greater the pull for alluring visitors to the fun zone. Billund took advantage of its claim to fame to great effect.
Dubrovnik Attracts Film and TV Fans
Dubrovnik has always been an eye-catching city thanks to its stunning architecture and idyllic setting on the Adriatic Sea. The Croatian travel destination has had some major boosts in recent times, though, thanks to various popular films and television series opting to use it as a filming location. Tour companies in the region took advantage of this, as people love flocking to the real-life versions of their favourite fictional spots.
King’s Landing from Game of Thrones was filmed in Dubrovnik.
HBO’s Game of Thrones was one of the first mainstream titles to put Dubrovnik on the map, as the city was used for the fictional spots of King’s Landing and Qarth in the fantasy series. The offering based on George R. R. Martin’s beloved A Song of Ice and Fire is one of the most successful television series ever created, making its filming locations iconic. Travellers love to go on tours of the paths that were also trodden by the likes of Daenerys Targaryen and Tyrion Lannister. However, with GOT having finished airing in 2019, it remains to be seen how long Dubrovnik can piggyback on its success to bring in visitors.
Luckily, other filmmakers have realised Dubrovnik’s potential as a filming location. In 2016, the Croatian city appeared in a few scenes of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. It was the site for the thrilling sequence in the casino city of Canto Bight. The following year, a few scenes from Otto Bathurst’s Robin Hood were filmed in Dubrovnik as well. Films like these are helping the city to stay alive as one of the most attractive cities in Europe for big-budget films to take place in.
The common theme of all these travel spots has been in their readiness to jump on trends in popular culture and use them to their benefit. Other global destinations that want to attract more visitors need to think about what makes them so unique and emphasise these points in their marketing.