IF CEBU will become the location of more international films and series, there is a possibility of a spike in the tourism industry.
Gin Kai Chan, a Singaporean-based film producer of Silver Media Group, during the Tourism Innovation Forum, said films open opportunities for the global market to witness the beauty of a place.
“A lot of times when we see locations on films or on television, we see an amazing increase in tourism,” he said.
He cited the famous HBO series “Game of Thrones” for which (some) scenes where filmed in Croatia and “The Beach” that starred actor Leonardo DiCaprio in Phuket, Thailand as some of the films whose locations have become tourist hotspots.
Even those involved in the film production like actors, stuntmen, cameramen among others, which could be hundreds of people, can already be counted as foreign arrivals.
Cebu’s tourism, he said, stands to benefit in filmmaking as locations are promoted longer in the big screen.
“If it’s in the film, we don’t skip advertisements, and it lasts longer than the average air time which is around a minute. It’s longer memory retention,” he said.
Having venues and locations in film, he said, is more effective than in newspapers and television.
Chan said what attracts film production companies are government incentives.
“Countries should realize that if they spent money supporting film productions, their tourism receipts will be much more than what they have given in incentives,” he said.
Aside from that, other countries also provide support in the application of permits and visas for persons and equipment that are needed for the film production.
Moreover, Chan said creating a database of all potential film locations in the Visayas could also be of big help.
“It would make it easier for our people to know where to shoot our films,” he said.
Arrangements for restaurants and hotels will also be beneficial like partner discounts so that the products and services in a particular location gets featured in the film, Chan added.
In 2015, Sen. Sonny Angara called for the passage of a bill which seeks to promote film tourism in the country following the recent tourism boom in select provinces that local movies have promoted in their setting.
“We should encourage more filmmakers to feature different parts of the country and showcase their beauty and culture to effectively promote Philippine tourism. The influx of tourists in Sagada in Mountain Province due to the movie ‘That Thing Called Tadhana’ should extend to other tourist destinations in the Philippines,” said Angara.
The senator filed Senate Bill 2160 or the Fostering Investment through Local and International Movies (Film) Act which aims to attract filmmakers by providing tax incentives, and to empower the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) to provide additional benefits.
Under the proposed measure, eligible local and international productions may be granted 20 percent tax credits if the final product is set completely or largely within the Philippines, or if at least half of filming occurs in a community here in the country that is still recovering from a significant natural disaster.
The Department of Tourism is tasked to provide the FDCP with a list of locations it is promoting while the National Commission for Culture and the Arts shall be the resource for filmmakers for Filipino culture, traditions and values.
The FDCP will also be responsible for ensuring that environmental regulations are properly adhered to by production companies in the process of filming.
Aside from tax credits, SB 2160 also provides additional incentives such as exemptions from all fees for or associated with filming permits, free access to public lands, free police protection, free and expedited work visas, and a designated liaison. (JOB with KOC)