News & Updates
10.11.21 Guest lecturer at College of Innovation, Thammasat University
After the completion of the film fan tourism project in Oct 2021 (with the acknowledgement of the completion by the funding National Research Council of Thailand on 22 Dec 2021), I had an opportunity to share the research output with students at the College of Innovation, Thammasat University. The lecture was part of the MA programme in Management of Cultural Heritage and Creative Industries led by Dr. Veluree Metaveevinij.
The theme of the lecture was on the relationships and gaps between film/screen industries and tourism industry in the context of Thailand. This gap is reflected significantly in terms of the different interpretations of the notion of 'fan tourism' by governmental stakeholders, business owners, general tourists and the fans. This different interpretations led to the investment on the infastructure that did not support local business owners or film fans. While fans value the aspect of 'ritual', 'play', 'memories', 'identities' in relation to characters and their relationships with the locations, as well as the recognition of film histories, to date the public discourse and governmental interpretations of film fan tourism has been on associations with Hollywood, big-name stars with the aim of attracting 'more' tourists to this new form of attraction. Meanwhile, local business owners down play the aspect of film fan tourism as this has not led directly to revenues. While the locals are often excited to talk about film locations to promote local sites and tourism, this also subsited quickly unless the film has a long shelf-life.
Sites whereby the owners have personal interests in media and film culture, the memories of fan visits are kept alive through memory book, photograph displays as they add an additional layer of meaning to the site. Nevertheless, there is an underlying impression that this memory would expire (therefore the photos have to be taken down) and replace by new associations/memories. The long-term sustainablity of film fan tourism is difficult when the focus is on commercial return based solely on film memories. Nevertheless, sites with long-term tourtist visits (i.e. Pakchong in association with Bruce Lee's The Big Boss) highlight the important aspect of fans passing on their love to specfic films to other fans and decendants. Further sustainable development of the sites associated with film locations, therefore has to consider the ecology of the site (based on the self-life of the films, long-term fans and their affective relations with the sites, local stakeholers, as well as other layers of memories on that specific location).