Wizard Harry Potter casts spell over tourism in Britain

Updated 2017-06-26 14:25:27 Xinhua
The new play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child which will debut in London this summer is promoted at a stand in a bookshop in Edinburgh, Britain, on April 23, 2016. (Xinhua/Guo Chunju)

The new play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child which will debut in London this summer is promoted at a stand in a bookshop in Edinburgh, Britain, on April 23, 2016. (Xinhua/Guo Chunju)

British tourism chiefs announced Saturday they have released an interactive map to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter book next Monday.

VisitBritain, the country's official tourism office, is celebrating the publication of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by showcasing what makes Britain a magical destination for international tourists.

The interactive online map highlights magical sites across Britain which have inspired some of the world's greatest literature and legends, from Harry Potter to Sherwood Forest, famed as the home of Robin Hood, and the legendary King Arthur to Scotland's Loch Ness Monster.

VisitBritain Director Patricia Yates said: "From Glenfinnan Viaduct in Scotland where the Harry Potter's Hogwarts Express travelled, to Professor McGonagall's classroom at Durham Cathedral, to exploring the Forbidden Forest at Warner Bros Studio, Harry Potter's Britain is the stuff of magic."

"Harry and his wizarding world continue to hold generations of readers from across the globe spellbound, firing up imaginations and inspiring people to explore locations and landscapes and experience the wonder themselves."

Attracted by culture and heritage, overseas travellers who visit Britain's castles or historic houses spend more than 10 billion U.S. dollars annually exploring cultural venues.

Film and literature are also powerful motivators for travel, with more than a third of potential visitors to the UK wanting to see places featured on screen, says VisitBritain.

VisitEngland has named 2017 the Year of Literary Heroes to shine the spotlight on England's literary destinations and anniversaries. Anniversaries include the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death, the 125th anniversary of the first Sherlock Holmes book, and the 75th anniversary of Enid Blyton's Famous Five.

Latest statistics for 2017 show that there were a record 11.8 million overseas visits to the UK from January to April, up 11 percent on the same period in 2016. Overseas visitors spent nearly 8 million dollars during the period, up 14 percent.

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