Film Tourism: Central Macedonia Aiming to Attract Movie Productions All Year Round
“Our aim is for Central Macedonia to become a year-round filming destination,” Central Macedonia Governor Apostolos Tzitzikostas said during a conference held at the recent Philoxenia international tourism expo in Thessaloniki.
According to Tzitzikostas, film tourism is a major development opportunity for tourism economies that rely heavily on the audiovisual industry.
“Film tourism is a valuable tool for regional development increasing local income, creating new jobs, promoting each region’s comparative advantages, offering added value to destinations and reintroducing them in a different, attractive way to new target-markets,” he said.
Film tourism, an effective promotion strategy
Tourism marketing experts have stated that films are a more effective way to promote destinations compared to advertising.
“The benefits of film tourism for a charismatic place like Central Macedonia, with a true treasure of beautiful landscapes, are huge,” Tzitzikostas said during the event.
“Its images travel through films to every corner of the world, creating unique and repetitive tourism experiences for millions of viewers, and desire for our destination,” he added.
In addition, the governor said that while working in Greece, foreign film crews get the chance to enjoy Greek hospitality, Mediterranean cuisine as well as Greece’s open-hearted people.
New Hollywood movie coming to Central Macedonia
During the Philoxenia tourism expo, Tzitzikostas also unveiled that one more Hollywood production has selected Thessaloniki as its shooting location, with filming expected to start after the Christmas holidays.
The Central Macedonia Region is facilitating Greek and foreign audiovisual productions through its local film office. Established in September 2020, the Film Office of the Central Macedonia Region operates as a one-stop-shop for foreign production crews in search of filming locations in the area.
During the summer it assisted the filming crew of “The Enforcer”, a Hollywood action film starring Antonio Banderas. According to Tzitzikostas, the movie production spent some 9 million euros during its two-month stay in Central Macedonia.
“Thessaloniki was transformed into a huge movie set for a whole month… offering everybody an unprecedented experience… It was a unique advertising opportunity for our region and brought significant revenue to hundreds of local businesses and professionals,” he said.
“The Expendables 4” is the second big Hollywood movie production that has selected Central Macedonia as its filming location with a budget estimated to reach 19 million euros.
Parts of the movie will be shot in the northern port city of Thessaloniki.