huntington beach filming photos

Huntington Beach Film Efforts - Travel Industry Association says Filming Doesn't Increase Tourism Significantly


Huntington Beach, Calif. -- Did you chose a vacation to Huntington Beach after watching a TV showw? It's fairly unlikely. While nearby Laguna Beach (MTV) and Newport Beach (The OC) or Sunset Beach (Sunset Beach) have all gotten a show, HB hasn't recently (at time of this publication) snagged that publicity on these national distribution programs. But is a show worth all the publicity? Does it really sell hotel rooms? You would think, "yes". But read on...


Research from Travel Industry Association (TIA) offers some interesting data into this phenomenon. While it's believed that people flock to Hollywood to see stars, they probably aren't going to visit Hawaii because of Hawaii-5-0. Or see Beverly Hills because of Beverly Hills 90210.  TV shows have little effect on a traveler’s choice of destination, according to recent data.  Only four percent of all travelers in the past three years selected a vacation destination because of a movie or TV show they saw. This translates to 5.1 million U.S. adults. Just three percent of travelers did so in the past year.


Travelers who choose a destination as the result of seeing a movie or a TV show are more likely than total U.S. travelers to be younger (37 years, average age) and have a higher household income of $81,000 average (mean) annual household income. They also tend to be married (64%), male (55%), completed college (39%), have children in the household (44%) and work in a professional or managerial occupation (32).


As web publisher and journalist, I once took a side trip to promote Huntington Beach tourism for two years.  During that time I recall the city and Huntington Beach Conference and Visitors Bureau's efforts to snag TV or film productions.  One pet project our bureau was involved in was MTV's Beach House.  Other cities got the gig, and not much has been reported about the results of their hosting it. One former planning commissioner, Steve Ray, and his wife have worked in Hollywood as actor and his wife as a film producer. They had hoped to see HB get classified within the zone for film production. A web site was built through city funding to attempt to lure film companies to Huntington Beach recently, as well.

But if the statistics above are true about visitor volumes to a city based on watching a movie or TV show, the efforts to lure production crews have to be weighed with city expenses for administrative costs in processing their applications and fees, and blocking off land that's part of the coast open to all tourists, vacationers and locals.

Many of the Los Angeles cities tolerate film efforts because it helps promote their local industry, movie making.  But the traffic snarls and other issues that arise from filming become annoying to those who work and live in the communities where streets are closed for yet, another filming.


As a tourist to Vancouver, B.C., recently, I didn't think much about it when I recognized actress Linda Hamilton in line at Starbucks next to me. She smiled as I looked at her and thought for a moment that she seemed familiar. It all clicked when my tour guide, a brilliant journalist, Eldrid and I were forced to walk around the block and out of our way because the film set was placed in the middle of a street and the sidewalks were blocked. As he complained about the closure, I told him I'd seen an actress in Starbucks, and he explained that Vancouver has become a popular film location because its cheaper to produce movies and shows there. We were on an extremely tight schedule and it cost us a spot we were heading for by having to make a detour from Eldrid's well traveled path.


So is filming good for tourists, or for economies? Some cities are bullish on filming and others are not.  In Huntington Beach we've seen our fair share of celebs and are surrounded by industry folks who live in our neighborhoods and commute to Hollywood.


While nonprofit travel industries such as TIA and the California state tourism arm, California Travel and Tourism Commission, both host international travelers and lure that small percent (less than 15% in California) to the state through conferences, fam tours, press trips and other efforts, they tend not to spend money or to focus on a 3 to 5% category source of revenue. For cities such as Huntington Beach, such marketing efforts may offer limited ROI. But the trend to lure film productions to cities marketed as destinations is a popular trend you'll see throughout California. Destination management organizations tend to use these film efforts as bragging rights to promote their spot as worthy of attention.


For the tourist, your best bet for finding film stars in Huntington Beach might be on a weekend evening at an outdoor cafe along Main Street. The biggest challenge is in recognizing celebrities without all the makeup. Often they look ordinary and not as you expect.



book nav

hot deals


Click to Save

 Discount Disneyland Tickets


six flags