Tourism industry hails Macbeth
Tourism businesses are hailing Macbeth and its potential to attract thousands more visitors to Scotland.
As the new film, which stars Michael Fassbender in the title role, has its UK premiere at Festival Theatre Edinburgh yesterday (Sunday 27 September 2015), members of Scotland’s tourism industry have revealed their hopes for a set-jetting boom.
VisitScotland, which is collaborating with distributors Studiocanal to promote Scotland on the back of the film, has already produced a new online Macbeth locations guide.
As well as highlighting places on Skye that feature in the Justin Kurzel-directed movie, Macbeth: The Man, Myth & Legend focuses on locations associated with the real Scottish king and the central character in William Shakespeare’s immortal play.
The Moray Economic Partnership has announced that, over the coming weeks, costumes and props used in the film will go on display in the region where the real king Macbeth ruled during the 11th Century.
The items will be displayed across Elgin Museum, the Falconer Museum, Brodie Castle and Johnstons of Elgin before moving to the Moray Arts Centre in Findhorn from early November.
Margery McLennan, Chair of the Moray Economic Partnership's Tourism and Culture Committee, said: “Moray Speyside Tourism has been working in partnership with VisitScotland to inspire people to visit Moray, the home of the real Macbeth. Having these splendid costumes on display is a wonderful opportunity to bring the magic of the movies to the people of Moray Speyside and to visitors alike.”
Meanwhile, the Aros Centre on Skye is organising a special event for its first screening of Macbeth on Friday 2 October, when the film opens in cinemas nationwide.
Prior to the screening, customers were able to enjoy a glass of Skye’s Talisker malt whisky as well as sampling Macbeth-themed canopies.
Donald MacDonald, Managing Director at the Aros Centre, said: “We are delighted to be able to show this film on release as many of the scenes were shot on Skye and used local people as extras. There has been tremendous interest from the community and we are also aware the visitors to Skye are asking if they can come along.”
One of the titles bestowed on Macbeth in Shakespeare’s play is ‘Thane of Glamis’, and Glamis Castle in Angus is planning special Macbeth tours of the property next year.
Castle Assistant Chimene Samson said: “Macbeth has already received great critical acclaim and it’s fantastic news for Scotland. There has always been interest in Macbeth’s connection with Glamis Castle, but the film will generate even more excitement and we’re hoping to run Macbeth-themed tours next year.”
Fiona Hyslop, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Europe and External Affairs, said: “I’m delighted Shakespeare’s iconic story of Macbeth has been transformed for modern audiences on screen. The production showcases the stunning scenery of the Isle of Skye. I’m confident Macbeth will draw new and returning visitors to Scotland from around the globe.
“I’d like to praise the work of Creative Scotland and VisitScotland in enticing this major production to film in Scotland. Film and TV producers spent a record £45.2 million shooting on location in Scotland in 2014, Macbeth ably demonstrates why Scotland is so popular for film producers.”
Set-jetting is a growing trend, with research showing that 40 per cent of visitors to the UK are inspired to come here after seeing a location on film or on television. In June 2015, Scotland was voted the world’s Best Cinematic Destination by readers of USA Today, with Scottish locations associated with popular movies enjoying considerable increases in visitor numbers.
Glen Coe, which features in the 2012 James Bond movie Skyfall, saw a 41 per cent jump in visitor numbers the year after the film’s release, while Rosslyn Chapel visitor numbers soared by 71 per cent following The Da Vinci Code movie in 2006.
Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “This wonderful new Macbeth movie is fantastic for Scottish tourism. We are delighted to see Scottish tourism businesses capitalising on this outstanding opportunity and hope that the film will lead to thousands of visitors coming to Scotland to tread the same ground as the man, the myth and the legend.”
Councillor Audrey Sinclair, Chair of The Highland Council’s Development, Planning and Infrastructure Committee, said: “I am sure that the movie will really inspire people to come to visit the area as the locations featured will be very dramatic on the big screen, but even more spectacular in real life. Earlier this year we joined in partnership with VisitScotland to launch the Highland Movie Map which is an easy-to-use guide highlighting filming locations across the whole Highlands that capitalises on the popularity of “set-jetting”, where film fans visit real-life movie locations. The guide features a dedicated section on Skye as the island has been a major draw to film-makers in recent years. I’m sure after seeing Macbeth even more people will be inspired to come to the Highlands and experience for themselves some of the silver screen scenery.”