Govt. urged to utlise synergies between film and tourism

MUMBAI: "We give and give. Yet the producer is taken for a ride throughout. Hopefully forums like this will help redress the situation." Film producer Nitin Keni spoke these words during the morning session of Locations 2003, which is the world's first film tourism event. 

The event closes tomorrow at the Mumbai suburb of Juhu. Keni is a 20 year veteran of the industry who helped launch Zee TV in 1992

He lamented, "The experience of Indian filmmakers is very poor. We are still getting second-class status from the various state governments despite the fact that they collect a lot of revenue by way of entertainment tax. They need to wake up and get their act together. Indians prefer shooting abroad in places like Mauritius, London because it is cheaper and there are no bureaucratic hassles. Some amount of standardisation needs to be brought into the system. We could learn from Europe where film entrepreneurs get a tax relief in a country like Germany if 50 per cent of the film has been shot there."

He also said that the attitude of the various government departments in the different states is unhelpful. "States invite us saying that free security will be provided. However when we land up there we are asked for donations towards some welfare institution where people working in the film and entertainment industry are languishing. Politicians and the bureaucratic machinery have taken the country back a

thousand years."

On a positive note he mentioned that a lot of development had taken place in the film sphere. "Indian film is on the verge of a tremendous positioning in the global market. In fact our cinema is seen in more countries than Hollywood."

Imax Adlabs' MD Manmohan Shetty also emphasised the

importance of state governments to get more proactive on the issue. " The cost of flying to a North eastern state often exceeds the cost of flying abroad. We make 800 films a year. The main challenge before the filmmakers is to find new locales not only outside but also within the country. This platform will make it easier for them to find locales that suit their subject matter. Tourists will be tempted to visit

locations apart from the main cities."

At the session it was also pointed out that one fifth of the UK's visitors go there as a result of film and television exposure that the country has received. The creativity of the film community coupled with the professionalism of the tourism industry can have a trickle down effect. Countries like Scotland and New Zealand have used films like Braveheart and Lord Of the Rings to promote tourism. In fact New Zealand is more a tourism than an industrial economy.

The event is being organised by Novel Event Works Company. Tarun Hukku thanked for creating further awareness about the event through the internet. He pointed out that for the past few decades a quiet relationship had been developing between tourism and the film industry. Through forums like this, the tourism boards of different Indian states and countries could learn how to structure their schedule so that tourists could be enticed. The initiation of co-production is another aim.

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