Packaging Pop Culture Destinations

 
 

Dan Dickson
Published July 03, 2014

Their wildly popular program breaks cable television ratings records. “Duck Dynasty” tracks the adventures of its heavily bearded, camouflaged stars and their Monroe-West Monroe, Louisiana, family members. The show has generated a buzz around the country and the globe. Fans want more than what the tube gives them.

“‘Duck Dynasty’ is great for us,” said Harolyn Falgoust with the Monroe-West Monroe Convention and Visitors Bureau. “Group tour business and motorcoach trips have really increased. Religious groups arrive for a weekend and want to see ‘Duck Dynasty’ sites.”

The CVB urges folks to “Follow the Beards” in its Official Duck Commander Hometown Tour. It features 26 sites seen on the show, everything from Debbie’s Snowballs and Haskell’s Doughnuts to Dankin Trail and Duck Commander Store and Warehouse.

Why do fans flock there?

“Families like them because they started with nothing, had a dream, fulfilled it and built a business out of duck calls,” said Falgoust. “But at the end of the day, it’s all about family.”

Groups can’t get enough of these pop culture destinations.

 

Camera-Ready Charlotte

“The Hunger Games” is one of the biggest box office movie franchises in history. Forbes Magazine estimates that the first film’s production pumped $60 million into Charlotte’s and North Carolina’s economies. Some of that cash was spent by rabid fans who came to see filming locales.

“Homeland” is one of the most honored television series in recent years. It, too, draws fans to Charlotte.

“The first three seasons were filmed here,” said Kristen Moore, communications manager for the Charlotte Convention and Visitors Bureau. “That was huge for us. Everywhere you look in that show, you see Charlotte. We also posed as Washington, D.C.”

When “The Hunger Games” premiered, Charlotte gained major media coverage.

“It got people’s attention, and they wanted to visit,” said Moore. Charlotte residents occasionally bump into movie or television stars around town after hours, when the stars are away from the set.

Charlotte is a versatile film location.

“We double as a small town if you get a little outside the city. Go into Center City, it can look like a huge metropolis,” said Moore. “North Carolina is great because within a few hours’ drive, you’ve got beaches, mountains, or small-town and city scenes.”

That may mean future television shows and films and, presumably, more tourists, too.

 

The 49th State

Mention Sitka, Alaska, to movie fans, and it’s likely you’ll hear them speak fondly about the film “The Proposal,” starring Sandra Bullock. The movie is set in Sitka, and some filming was done there. But fans may be surprised to learn most of the movie was shot in Massachusetts.

Nonetheless, Sitka gains some backdoor tourism benefit from the love for the movie and the portrait of Alaska embedded in fans’ imaginations. Cruise ships off the coast of Sitka often screen “The Proposal,” and that excites fans who go ashore.

The beautiful documentary “The Meaning of Wild” takes viewers to one of Alaska’s most rugged landscapes: Tongass National Forest, near Sitka. The film probably cemented Sitka as an item on many people’s bucket lists.

“I think it made people who never thought of Alaska before think of it,” said Joy Branson of the Sitka Convention and Visitors Bureau.