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Pop Culture Tourism – the Outpace Project

Although we can’t travel at the moment the OUTPACE Project is looking ahead to the days when we can. This project focuses on the connection between tourism experiences and pop culture.

What do we mean by pop culture tourism?
Simply speaking, it’s travel motivated by pop culture phenomena, such as books, films, and music. Think of the movie Mamma Mia! you probably wouldn’t have heard of the Greek Island of Skopelos, or Kalokairi as it’s known in the movie, before the film. Pre-Covid it attracted thousands of tourists who wanted to visit the island they had seen on the big screen. It’s known as the “Mamma Mia! effect.”

Pop Culture Tourism is known all over the world. Think of The Beatles and Liverpool, or Harry Potter and Edinburgh, and you’ll get the idea.

Looking closer to home on our island of Ireland:

The Quiet Man put the small village of Cong in Co. Mayo on the map and took Ireland to the big screens worldwide. The Quiet Man was released in 1952 and single handedly turned Cong into one of Ireland’s major tourist destinations. There are walking tours, a statue, a museum, and more, all focusing on the movie.

Normal People, the television series based on the best-selling book by Sally Rooney captured the hearts and minds of viewers. 16 million people, in the UK alone, watched the first week of the popular series. This led to a spike in google searches for Sligo.

Sligo Tourism have an excellent article about the places you will have seen in Normal People, so you might be inspired to visit.

If you’d like to find out more about this project, there is a free resource pack over on the OUTPACE website which looks at the significance of pop culture tourism, and how to harness the power of it.  

The overall aim of OUTPACE is to produce a rise in the number of tourism businesses which develop innovative products & services based on the opportunities afforded by pop culture tourism, thus generating more market-responsive & dynamic regional tourism economies.


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