See More on Facebook

Curiosity, Economics

Three films that helped put Asia on the production map

Asia is quickly becoming the choice du jour for Hollywood filmmakers looking for exotic locales and cheaper production costs.


Written by

Updated: March 21, 2018

Film tourism – it’s a modern trend. Around the world, many are jetting off to see in person the locations that captured their hearts on film.

The sprawling city of King’s Landing in HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones have brought tourists flocking to Croatia’s Dubrovnik in recent years – so many, in fact, that it aided the country’s recovery from a recession, according to Quartz. At the other end of the world, tourists are still making stops at Hobbiton over a decade after the enormously popular Lord of The Rings trilogy hit the big screen.

Asia, too, has experienced its share of movie-inspired tourism – and countries have been cashing in.

Here are three well-known films that have helped boost tourism in Asia.

Eat, Pray, Love

With its picturesque rice paddies and gorgeous beaches, Indonesia’s island of Bali served as the final destination in divorcee Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey of self-discovery in the 2010 film Eat Pray Love, based on the memoir of the same name.

As a result of the book and film, scores of tourists have made their way to Bali to retrace Gilbert’s steps, helping tourism on the island to recover after a long dark spell following the 2002 Bali bombings, according to the Associated Press. At one point, resorts and spas even offered Eat, Pray, Love packages and tours, which included activities like yoga classes, massage therapy and excursions to locations featured in the film, Time reported.

Indonesia was not the only country with specially created Eat, Pray, Love tours. Tour operators also created packages to India, the second of the three countries visited by Gilbert, in the hope that the film would give tourism a boost.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider

Starring Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft, parts of this action-packed film based on the tomb raider video games series was shot in Cambodia’s ancient Angkor Wat temple complex in Siem Reap. Among the temples to appear in the film was the mysterious Ta Prohm temple, known for the tree roots enveloping parts of the structure.

The film was the first Hollywood production to be shot in Cambodia since Lord Jim in 1964, and it was suggested that it could boost tourism, especially after the moderately successful film The Beach drew crowds to Thailand’s Phi Phi Leh island, The Guardian reported.

Angkor Wat is the country’s biggest tourist attraction, with nearly 2.5 million people visiting the site over the course of 2017, The Phnom Penh Post reported, citing an Angkor Enterprise statement. Though it is hard to assess the exact extent to which the film contributed to the location’s popularity, Ta Prohm temple is still commonly referred to as the “tomb raider” temple.

Kong: Skull Island

The latest adaptation of this classic monster movie made its way back to the big screen last year. Packed full of action and adventure, parts of Kong: Skull Island were filmed in Vietnam.

Though the country has been featured in Hollywood films in the past, Kong: Skull Island was the largest film production the country had hosted before, according to Channel News Asia.

Prior to the film’s release last year, Vogt-Roberts said that he was hopeful that the film would encourage more people to visit Vietnam, Channel News Asia reported.

According to the Vietnam Economic Times, both local and international tour companies were quick to use the film as a marketing tool, putting together special tours for those wishing to take a closer look at some of the spectacular scenery featured in the film.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Nadia Chevroulet
About the Author: Nadia is an Associate Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Curiosity, Economics

Vietnam to be among world’s most dynamic markets by 2030

The country has reached amazing levels of progress in the last two decades. With an emerging market economy and continued strong growth, Vietnam is set to become one of the most dynamic markets in the world by 2030, according to Euromonitor International, a global market research company. An Hodgson, Euromonitor International’s income and expenditure research manager, said the company’s research database showed that urbanisation, with the associated concentration of income, wealth and population, would propel Việt Nam’s commercial success by 2030. Published last month, the research database has found that Vietnam will be the third biggest urban market by consumer numbers and fifth biggest by total spending in Southeast Asia. By 2030, the country’s urban consumer market will expand to 46 million consumers and $169 billion worth of spending. GDP growth is expected to rea


By Viet Nam News
June 13, 2019

Curiosity, Economics

Li pledges to improve business climate

Li Keqiang says China taking steps to open up economy to foreign businesses Premier Li Keqiang reaffirmed China’s commitment to improving its business environment by deepening reforms to streamline administration and carrying out large-scale tax cuts and fee reductions. Li said in a meeting on Tuesday with World Bank President David Malpass that the country will bring its business environment more in line with market principles, international standards and the rule of law as part of efforts to promote high-quality development. He noted China’s cooperation with the World Bank, which is in keeping with its steps in reform and opening-up and benefited the country’s growth. The global landscape is complex and fluid, and the Chinese economy is facing various risks and challenges, he said. Further cooperation between China and the World Bank will help promote poverty reduction, narrow


By China Daily
June 12, 2019

Curiosity, Economics

Restrictions on Chinese firms could drive up 5G cost

China is increasing pressure on consumers in a bid to end restriction on its major tech firms. Europe would have to pay an extra 55 billion euros ($62 billion) for 5G networks and suffer an 18-month technology delay if it bans telecom equipment purchases from top Chinese manufacturers, according to an industrial report. The report by the GSM Association, which represents 750 mobile operators worldwide, said Ericsson, Nokia and Samsung, the non-Chinese contenders in the 5G market, do not have the capacity to handle all of the shift from 3G and 4G networks to 5G in Europe while honoring contracts already signed in North America and Asia. Huawei and ZTE account for about 40 percent of the EU market, and Huawei is “currently a pioneer in 5G technology”, according to the GSM analysis, first reported by Reuters and Agence France-Presse on Friday. “A ban on Chinese v


By China Daily
June 11, 2019

Curiosity, Economics

Malaysia finds mass influx of undocumented workers from Bangladesh

5,272 undocumented Bangladeshis held in Malaysia in 5 months. Malaysian immigration department has detained 5,272 Bangladeshi workers among other nationals between January 1 to June 4 this year amid the country’s stringent actions against undocumented foreign workers. During this time, the immigration department carried out 7,940 operations nationwide, involving checks on over 100,000 foreigners and took actions against 23,295 undocumented foreign workers, reports Malaysian newspaper Free Malaysia Today, quoting a statement by Malaysian Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on Sunday. Of those detained, 8,011 are Indonesians, 5,272 are Bangladeshis, and the rest include workers from Myanmar, Philippines and Thailand, the report read. “In the five months between January 1 and June 1, 2019, some 26,116 illegal immigrants were sent back to their respective countries,” the statement said. The n


By The Star
June 11, 2019

Curiosity, Economics

Pakistan not hitting economic growth targets.

Agricultural, industrial growth registers sharp slowdown in Pakistan. The economy grew at an average rate of 3.29 per cent (provisional) in fiscal year 2018-19 against an ambitious target of 6.2pc set in last year’s budget, the Pakistan Economic Survey revealed on Monday. Sector-wise growth rates: Agriculture: 0.85 per cent (against target of 3.8pc) Industry: 1.4pc (against target of 7.6pc) Services 4.7pc (against target of 6.5pc) Revenue collection Total revenue at Rs3,583.7bn (9.3pc of GDP) showed almost 0pc growth from July-March 2019, while growth in total expenditures was 8.7pc. The fiscal deficit was recorded at 5pc of the GDP compared to 4.3pc in the corresponding period last fiscal. “Decelerated


By Dawn
June 11, 2019

Curiosity, Economics

Investors still have confidence in China’s economy

An op-ed from China Daily arguing that the trade war has not dampened the country’s economic prospect. Wealthy Chinese and other Asian investors are near the top of the league tables for economic optimism worldwide. That makes sense because growth in Asia has outpaced that in the rest of the world for the past 20 years. But it does seem to overlook the intensifying US-China trade dispute, which has weighed on markets and economic activity and which ranks as the top worry for the same wealthy Asian investors who participated in a new UBS study. At first glance, it also flies in the face of the fact that wealthy Asian investors are holding large sums of their portfolios in cash, a clear sign they’d keep what they’ve got rather than put it to work-and at risk. What explains this possible contradiction? On second glance, the investors surveyed in the UBS Investor Sentiment report di


By China Daily
June 10, 2019