Sometimes it’s a movie’s soundtrack that gets people talking, or the costumes that steal the show.

But for travellers, it’s often a stunning location, displayed in glorious technicolour on the big screen that makes a scene stay in your mind for days afterwards.

1. Pondicherry, India

If film fests had a ‘best for inspiring travel’ category (and they really should), Ang Lee’s Life Of Pi would have been a clear winner in the past year – in addition to the zillions of awards it actually did collect. 

Many of the scenes were shot in the low-key, coastal town of Pondicherry, and were shot so beautifully they made a visit to the rugged coastline and the pretty town skyrocket to the top of everyone’s travel wishlist.

Unsurprisingly, Pondicherry has seen a 250 per cent increase in tourism since the film’s release as visitors have been flocking to see the location first-hand, in particular the marigold-strewn market where Pi and his girlfriend locked eyes, the lush gardens and parks around the town and the amazing French colonial architecture. 

There’s plenty more to see in Pondicherry, even if you’re not a film geek.

The former capital of French India has changed hands between the French and the English multiple times over the past few centuries, but the French colonial influences on the town are still very distinctive – the streets are called ‘Rue’, while the Aayi Mandapam is an Arc d’Triomphe-style, Napoleon III-era memorial, and French colonial houses are found throughout.Leafy streets are lined with chic, Parisian-style boutiques that sell saris, jewellery and antiques.

Plus, of course, there’s miles of that rough and romantic coast to go strolling along.Just don’t go looking for the zoo while you’re there – it doesn’t exist.  

The town’s botanical gardens served as the filming location for that and apparently it’s not quite as lush as it appears in Life Of Pi – Lee went on a 10-day planting spree to prepare it for filming.

%TNT Magazine% paris fountain

2. Paris, France

We all know it wasn’t Russell Crowe’s unsteady operatics in Les Miserables that spurred the 45 per cent increase in tourism to Paris. 

Although much of the movie was filmed in England, the musical rekindled movie-goers’ interest in the French Revolution.

Les Mis fans can’t get enough of Place de la Concorde, the location of many beheadings and the Conciergerie where Marie-Antoinette was imprisoned.

%TNT Magazine% ko phi phi leh

3. Ko Phi Phi Leh, Thailand

Of course Ko Phi Phi Leh is beautiful, and combined with the allure of a shirtless Leo DiCaprio, the tourist pull proved devastating.

This Thai island, which can only be reached by a ferry that sets off once per day, used to be reserved for only the most adventurous tourists.

But after DiCaprio frolicked in the waves in The Beach, tourists swamped the place, which is why access is now limited to preserve its paradisiacal beauty.

%TNT Magazine% tokyo tower

4. Tokyo, Japan

Tourism to Tokyo dipped after the devastating earthquake of 2011. But even the threat of tremors aren’t enough to put off Hugh Jackman’s most devoted groupies.

The Wolverine isn’t even being released until the summer this year, but there has already been a spike in bookings to Japan’s capital.

Eager to get a glimpse of the edgy, futuristic Tokyo shown in early-release clips, fans have been heading to neon-lit Roppongi area and the Tokyo Tower.

%TNT Magazine% robert patterson twilight

5. Forks, US

Never underestimate the tourist-drawing power of a sexy vampire.  

The ultimate Twi-hard pilgrimage is to the sleepy town of Forks in Washington, aka home to Twilight’s floppy-haired vamp Edward (R-Patz, above). 

The movie trilogy caused a truly staggering 1000 per cent increase in bookings for lodgings in the Pacific Northwest town.

Here fans can visit sights of ‘interest’ (in the loose sense of the term), such as the school Bella attended or her house.


Photos: Thinkstock; Getty