The magic of tourism: A look into the impact of Harry Potter tourism on Edinburgh



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The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling has profoundly touched the lives of many readers. The series has become a global cultural phenomenon of unimagined proportions. Many of the places in the books and scenes in the movies are based on locations in Edinburgh, the city where Rowling wrote most of the Harry Potter series. These locations in Edinburgh have become places of Harry Potter tourism. Increased tourism can boost an economy, but it can also create issues for the permanent residents of these tourist destinations.

During the summer of 2018, fieldwork was conducted in Edinburgh with The Potter Trail walking tours, a tour company that specializes in connecting the fictional places of the books and movies to their real-world counterparts in the city. The aim of this research is to show ways in which Harry Potter tourism has affected Edinburgh by creating and authenticating points of connection. Over a three day period, the team observed eight tours and interviewed 35 tourists. The observations of the tours demonstrate ways in which the study area has been affected by the increased tourism. The analysis of the interviews suggest that visitors take these journeys in order to encounter points of connection which challenge the line between fiction and non-fiction.



Media tourism, Harry Potter tourism, Literary tourism, Literary geography