It’s hard to think of life before Netflix. Its subscription-based business model makes it the most popular streaming service in the world, offering a vast catalogue of movies, TV shows, and original content.
The best films and TV shows transport us to other worlds without us ever leaving the couch. Yet, if we put the remote down for a second, just how influential is Netflix in piquing our curiosity about some of its most popular shooting locations?
Whether it’s grand stately homes, eerie Midwest cornfields, or a high mountain peak with spectacular views, Netflix continues to hit us with jaw-dropping locations.
But how far are viewers willing to go to connect with the destinations that make up the backdrop of their favourite binge-worthy TV series?
We’ve pulled data from five of the most popular Netflix series between 2019 and 2022 to see if their shooting locations link to lucrative explosions in tourism.
So, if you’re a fan of Bridgerton, Stranger Things, The Crown, The Witcher, or Wednesday, we’ve got the ticket for your front-row seat.
Travel demand insights: data analysis
We noticed a general rise in inbound demand growth after the release of each show’s season. These were the most notable findings:
- Romania saw a massive rise in tourism (156%) following the release of the only Wednesday season to date. The nation’s capital, Bucharest, was the most popular travelling destination in the country. Numerous reports were also released in winter 2022 shortly after Wednesday’s premiere, highlighting the Netflix hit series boost to Romanian tourism.
- Bridgerton and The Crown spearheaded growth in UK tourism, with Bath and York being the most popular. Bath estimated it would benefit from a handsome sum of £1.5 million from Bridgerton fans visiting real-world locations from the show. Unique walking tours were even created so fans could visit many of the key filming locations, such as the Assembly Rooms and Holbourne Museum. This was also the same for The Crown Tour of London, which allowed fans to admire and learn about some of London’s famous Royal and political landmarks featured on the show.
- Budapest also appears to have benefited from a surge prior to the release of series three of The Witcher. Tourism was up 170% from the previous year, which can be heavily attributed to the most recognisable landmark in the series — the Vajdahunyad Castle.
- Regional popularity for these tourist destinations shows a connection between TikTok’s regional popularity and the inbound destination (from where tourists hail).
- Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, allowed fans to spend a night in the season 4 shooting location of Stranger Things — the centennial Lukiskes Prison. This 80s-themed cell was made available for booking on Airbnb. Even before this revelation, the location experienced an incredible 680% inbound demand growth compared to 14 May 2021.
Netflix shows by TikTok data
Let’s press play on our TikTok findings. This is the most popular social network (where people spend the most time), with data taken from the following period: 24 May to 21 September 2023.
|TikTok Hashtag Posts
|TikTok Hashtag Views
Bridgerton had the highest hashtag views on TikTok out of any shows on our list, clocking up an eyewatering 363 million views.
Set in the early 1800s Regency period, the period drama is a big hit in the UK, so it’s no surprise that UK TikTok users are the main driver behind its regional popularity on TikTok.
Despite low interest from the US, TikTok videos associated with Bridgerton’s filming locations, such as #visitbath and #royalcrescent tag the show’s name, illustrating a clear link to the show.
|Wiltshire, Somerset, Bristol, Yorkshire, Surrey, Buckinghamshire, London, Kent, Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire, Middlesex
Given Stranger Things is primarily set in America (although season 4 was shot in Lithuania), most interest on TikTok is generated from the States.
Strangely, it doesn’t appear to have ignited much regional popularity in Lithuania, although the nearby countries of the Czech Republic and Slovakia represent Eastern European interests well.
The show’s cultural impact and longevity have seen it become a huge multimillion-dollar franchise.
Immersive retail experiences can be found at pop-up shops in the USA, enabling fans to explore the most iconic locations, shop for exclusive merchandise, and enjoy interactive photo opportunities.
|New Mexico, Georgia
Our data shows that many TikTok post locations have used clips of The Crown, and there appears to be increased visitor interest in the royal abodes connected to The Crown.
The likes of Kensington Palace, London, and the late Queen’s Balmoral Castle and estate comfortably exceed one million hashtag views.
York Minster was noticeably popular on Instagram, with over 210,000 posts featuring this location-specific hashtag.
To put this into context, The Crown’s second most popular Instagram-worthy filming location was Canary Wharf, London, with 80,265 views.
|Scotland, Cambridgeshire, London, Wiltshire, Buckinghamshire, Liverpool, Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Leicestershire, Yorkshire
Wednesday has a more diverse regional interest on TikTok, with searches from Latin America and, notably, residents of Romania and Slovakia showing a high interest in this American comedy horror series.
The location-specific hashtags #busteni and #cantacuzino generate Wednesday-related TikTok videos. Cantacuzino Castle, in Busteni, was featured in the show and is now a themed site and popular fan spot.
|Bucharest, Cantacuzino Castle, Transylvania, Prahova
The Witcher enjoyed high European regional popularity. It noticeably attracted a lot of searches from Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, and Norway), especially in season 3, with the hashtag #witchernetflixseason3 reaching 57 million views.
|Yorkshire, Cumbria, Surrey, Berkshire, London, Scotland, Wales
When an individual or group of people become gripped by a show they’ve seen on Netflix, visiting the destination they’ve seen can become aspirational.
It almost allows fans to become a part of the show and immerse themselves in the lives of their favourite characters.
Rather than living vicariously through the small screen, travellers are seeing these destinations in a new light and are keen to share their experiences on Instagram and TikTok.
The sixth and final season of The Crown is set in York, so we can safely bookmark the Viking capital of England as a future hotspot. But what other locations could be hit by the Netflix travel bug? Netflix and Brazil, anyone?
How we used our data
From Romania to Buckingham Palace, we wanted to see if the launch of the season’s release dates coincided with an increase in tourism to each show’s shooting location.
We pulled data from TikTok and Travel Demand Insight to assess regional popularity and inbound demand growth.
TikTok stats were taken from 24 May to 21 September 2023, while any inbound demand growth was based on the number of tourists to the specific location during the same period the previous year.
The following tools were used to gather the data for this report:
- TikTok: https://ads.tiktok.com/business/creativecenter/inspiration/popular/hashtag/pc/en
- Google Destination Insights: https://destinationinsights.withgoogle.com/intl/en_ALL/
- AlsoAsked: https://alsoasked.com/
- WikiShark: https://www.wikishark.com/