Hollywood movies can shape the travel industry, and generate interest in a particular destinations. Some destinations that wouldn't normally get much attention, suddenly become centre stage.
If fans of a particular movie can have the chance to see the film set in real life, they will flock to the location where their favourite scenes were filmed. Being passionate about travel and also epic films, I tend to take note of cool destinations that crop up in movies.
Sometimes the makers behind these films manage to pin point a destination that deserves more recognition, and because they have to find awe inspiring places to showcase their film, they often stumble across some of the world's most impressive and hidden sights.
Late last year I wrote an article that featured Abu Dhabi and Iceland, where the most recent Star Wars movie was filmed. Over the course of the next few years, we will be treated to some awesome films, which means I can scout more locations to add to my ultimate bucket list (check out my current list here).
Some of the films that feature exciting and beautiful destinations due to be released this year include King Kong (Vietnam), Fast and Furious 8 (Havana), Alien: Covenant (NZ and Aus) and Star Wars Episode VIII (Ireland, Croatia). Here are four films due to be released in 2017, find out why I want to visit their locations below.
Four destinations you can visit now before they hit the big screen
King Kong - Vietnam
Hollywood has arrived in Vietnam with the filming of the new King Kong movie, and I'm delighted. Vietnam is definitely an underrated destination, and it's at the top of my to do list. It's such a visually breathtaking destination with so many cool sites to uncover.
The film's stars, Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston and Samuel L. Jackson hosted a press conference in Hanoi in February before they began filming. Tom said that he had planned to travel there as a 19-year old but it never happened, now he's had the chance to see this wonderful country. Samuel L. Jackson posted a Facebook photo showing him with a giant drum at the Temple of Literature, Vietnam's earliest university, founded in 1070.
Just the presence of these big Hollywood names in Vietnam and their social media updates will have already generated interest in the destination. Who knows what being the location of such a well-known movie will do for tourism in Vietnam? The director, Jordan Voght-Roberts, said he wanted to show audiences something different, and that's why he chose Vietnam as the location for "Kong: Skull Island."
Most of the filming was done in March this year, and some of the key filming locations include the famous and stunning Ha Long Bay, the caves located in Quang Binh, Trang An-Tam Coc and some mountains and rivers in the northern province of Ninh Binh. All of the three Vietnam main locations are recognized UNESCO sites.
Vietnam's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism hope that:
"In the long term, Vietnam can establish itself as an ideal destination for Hollywood filmmakers."
Kong: Skull Island, is set for release in March 2017.
Fast and Furious - Havana
I couldn't think of a better place to film a movie like Fast and Furious than Havana. This is a massive movie franchise, and with this being the 8th instalment, they need to keep things fresh, and I have no doubt Havana will do just that.
This will be the first major studio production to shoot on the island. Other Fast and Furious movies have been filmed in all sorts of impressive locations including LA, Japan, London and Abu Dhabi. I think filming on the streets of Havana will give the film a completely new, vibrant and unique perspective.
The seaside promenade-avenue of Havana (the Malecon) was turned into a race track to film speedy chase scenes. Michelle Rodriguez shared her thoughts about Havana on social media saying she was:
"Rediscovering the beauty of the people and their warm welcome."
She also commented that Havana is:
"A little reminder of what is not in the material world. Heart."
Last year, the producers held a casting in Havana for US cars made in the 1950s, which shows that some of these epic vintage cars that Havana is famous for will most likely be making an appearance in the film.
Fast and Furious 8 is due to be released in April 2017.
Alien Covenant - New Zealand, Australia
Filming is currently underway for the latest instalment of the follow up film to Prometheus, Alien Covenant. There is a lot of excitement building around this and secrecy around the film's details. It's apparently going to be R rated, and scenes are currently being filmed in Australia.
The director Ridley Scott confirmed late last year that he was scouting the locations for the film. Apparently the Australian government offered a $47.25 million investment for the film to carry out scenes in Aus.
Another rumoured filming location is Milford Sound in Fiordland National Park in New Zealand. What looks like a spaceship was also being constructed near Mitre Peak, a breathtaking mountain in the South of New Zealand. Many people think this could be the covenant.
Alien Covenant is due to be released in August 2017.
Star Wars Episode VIII - Ireland, Croatia, Mexico
Naturally, after the release of the latest Star Wars film, fans are looking to the next film, Episode VIII and wondering where it might be filmed. One of the first filming locations to be revealed is the Irish coastline.
The cast arrived at Belfast international airport and travelled to Malin Head in County Donegal, which is on the north-west coast of Ireland. It's believed that they have begun the construction of the Millennium Falcon. Apparently another set is being constructed in Co Cork.
Scenes are also being shot on the streets of Dubrovnik, Croatia with the tourist board confirming:
"Dear visitors, Dubrovnik will soon again be the host of the big American production, which confirms our city as an attractive filming location."
Another potential location is Mexico, according to a Mexico City Film Commission representative:
"They came scouting for a film and toured Tlahuac and Iztapalapa. They were interested in caves and the grotto species there. Due to its characteristics they thought they could pretend to be from another planet."
Star Wars Episode VIII is due to be released in December 2017.
Time to take your pick, I have made mine
I think of all these filming locations, the ones I most want to visit are Havana and Vietnam. Both of these destinations are on my ultimate bucket list of places I want to see. Perhaps some of your favourite films will inspire you to travel this year, if these locations are anything to go by, we will be seeing some pretty awesome destinations having their moment on the big screen.