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June 27, 2024updated 02 Jul 2024 3:59pm

Set-jetting: HNW seek out holiday destinations seen on screen

Leading travel service providers have reported an uptick in HNW clients seeking bespoke itineraries inspired by their favourite film and TV shows

By Stephanie Bridger-Linning

There has been a rise in the number of high-net-worth travellers planning holidays and experiences based on their favourite films or TV shows, according to industry experts. 

The White Lotus, Twin Peaks and Downton Abbey are among the hits that have inspired HNWs to seek out bespoke itineraries covering notable landscapes, restaurants and cultural sites showcased on camera.

[See also: Best travel and holiday advisers 2024]

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The idea of planning a holiday around a film or TV location isn’t new – Lord of the Rings devotees have made the pilgrimage to New Zealand for more than two decades and Star Wars has been bringing visitors to Death Valley since the Seventies – but the trend has gained momentum since the easing of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to research by the University of South Carolina. 

Black Tomato Yellowstone experience
Black Tomato offers a luxury experience inspired by TV series Yellowstone

Black Tomato, a Spear’s Top Recommended travel services provider working with HNW clients, notes such trips account for around 10 per cent of overall enquiries. This marks a 200 per cent increase since the company launched its ‘set-jetting’ programme, focusing on developing ‘as seen on screen’ itineraries, in 2014. 

‘Particularly over the past few years, we’ve seen record and ever-increasing numbers of clients seeking to travel to the locations that have set the scenes for their favourite film and TV shows,’ explains Tom Pyman, travel expert at Black Tomato and a Spear’s Top Recommended travel adviser.

[See also: Four Seasons private jet opens to charter bookings for first time]

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‘Interestingly, the genre of the film or programme doesn’t seem to impact the desirability to travel to the destination, as we see myriad different on-screen categories influencing travel choices, from thrillers, to black comedies and everything in between.’

This year Black Tomato added two new experiences to its set-jet series, transporting clients to the worlds of HBO series Yellowstone and Netflix’s recent Ripley adaptation. 

Set-jetting tourism boost

Black Tomato clients can explore the wonders of the Amalfi Coast, as showcased in Netflix series Ripley
Black Tomato clients can explore the wonders of the Amalfi Coast, as showcased in Netflix series Ripley / Image: Black Tomato

TV and film exposure is big business for travel destinations, too. One study by the University of Zadar found that Game of Thrones contributed more than $200 million to Croatia’s economy, after fans booked flights to see the dramatic landscapes in person. 

[See also: Best luxury travel companies 2024]

Four Seasons’ San Domenico Palace in Taormina, which supplied the backdrop for the second season of The White Lotus, witnessed an overnight spike in enquiries after the first episode aired, according to the hotel’s general manager. In a bid to secure a similar boost, the Thai government offered producers $4.4 million to film the third season in the country (Koh Samui was eventually selected as the backdrop for the third instalment).

Perhaps spurred on by its association with the HBO series, the Four Seasons is capitalising on the ‘set-jetting’ trend by introducing film and TV show-inspired itineraries for customers of its exclusive private jet service. Curated by director of guest experience Chenin Matthews, HNW clients can opt to criss-cross the world visiting disparate locations featured in hits like Killing Eve and Skyfall.

[See also: Best holiday home and country house rental providers 2024]

‘We are delighted to offer this extraordinary opportunity to charter the Four Seasons Private Jet for the first time, in response to the many inquiries we have received from families and groups of friends interested in custom itineraries and travelling for celebratory events,’ explained Marc Speichert, Four Seasons’ executive vice president and chief commercial officer.

Some travel service providers take the ‘set-jetting’ experience once step further. OvationNetwork, a New York-based travel agency which specialises in creating bespoke travel experiences for HNW clients, was tasked with organising a White Lotus-themed birthday party set within the luxurious surrounds of the Four Seasons Resort Maui at Wailea, Hawaii, where the first series of the award-winning series was filmed.

Adviser Christopher Bellot captured the essence of the show by crafting a murder mystery experience involving daily faux newspaper updates, an investigation, and a perpetrator reveal at a White Lotus Resort-branded dinner. 

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Visit our privacy policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
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