Foreign Tourism Boards are raining sops on Indian filmmakers; cash rebate for filming in Netherlands; tax rebate on production costs in Portugal, free hotel stays in other countries, and more.
Bollywood fans love to see exotic locations on screen, where their favorite stars romance against some stunning backdrops. Filmmakers have already figured that out, and always shortlist a few foreign countries where they could possibly shoot their next feature film.
The big constraint for them is obviously the ‘budget’.
That is why, studios are always lookout for countries that offer some sort of concessions to foreign productions for filming on their shores.
The good thing for studios is that tourism boards of more and more foreign countries are now offering discounts to filmmakers to shoot films on their land, which indirectly promotes tourism & attracts more foreign tourist to their country.
Why Are Foreign Countries Offering Sops
The benfits of film tourism to host countries is well documented.
Yash Raj Films did it for Switzerland, Zoya Akhtar’s Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara put Spain on the radar of Indian tourists. Queen did a similar thing to Netherlands.
These countries saw a signficant boost in arrivals of Indian tourists to their respective countries.
That is why Tourism boards of other countries do not want to miss out on the opportunity – Portugal, Netherlands, Romania, Malta, Kenya, South Africa, UAE and others, have a plan in place to woo the Indian filmmaker.
Also Read: Bollywood films shot in Spain
Which Countries Offer Concessions?
Tourism boards of countries like Switzerland, UK, and UK offered benefits initially, but the trend has now taken off in a big way now, with several countries following suit.
Several foreign countries now have have some sort of arrangement, which ends up benefiting the production team monetarily, if they decide to film in that foreign location.
Most tourism boards have realized that the discounts they offer is actually a small price to pay for the huge benefits that accrue from it, as the films showcase their best locations to an audience that spans across continents.
What Do the Benefits Cover?
Filmmakers don’t just look for discounts, they also prefer to have ground support once they land in that country, which will help them focus more on the film-making part.
The incentives offered usually range from:
- Cash back or tax rebate
- Advertisement/promotional funds
- Free or discounted hotel stays
- Discounted technician expenses
- Visa facilitation, and in certain cases,
- The tourism boards are also ready to bear part of the production cost.
“Amsterdam and its canals are popular for film shoots and next year we plan to bring a bigger team to India, comprising film producers, distributors and companies engaged in post production and virtual reality effects. The Commission offers 30 per cent cash rebate on production costs incurred in the Netherlands,” said Bas van der Ree, films commissioner of Netherlands.
“We are trying to promote Portugal as a standalone destination. Most Indians visit Europe in a group tour covering several countries and we are trying to promote Portugal as a separate destination. We bear the hotel and ground arrangement costs of filmmakers who visit Portugal for a recee. Of course, there is a condition. The filmmakers need to submit their project to us and the film must help in promoting Portugal. Portugal also offers 25 per cent tax rebate on production costs,” said Miguel Moraes, marketing director of Portugal Tourism.
Most countries offer tax sops in the form of VAT refund, 10-40 per cent, depending on the location and the amount of budget spent on the location. Countries like France, South Africa and Australia offer even more sops, with additional incentives from individual states like Queensland.
It Really turns Out Cheaper
One may feel that it would be expensive to take the entire cast and crew to a foreign country for filming, but with these rebates in place, it actually turns out cheaper.
Not only does it work out cheaper to take the cast and crew to foreign locations, the entire film is completed in one single schedule.
Bollywood Cashing In
Bollywood is cashing in one these developments big time with several major films being shot at exotic foreign locations. Production houses are even ready to alter their script to some extent, so that they are eligible for bigger concessions.
Don 2 in Berlin, Rockstar in Prague, Ek Tha Tiger in Ireland, krrish in Singapore, Ra.One in UK, are just some of the Bollywood movies that were offered handsome discounts by those countries.
Good times Ahead
Such arrangements are actually a win-win situation for both the parties. Filmmakers get to show the best of the world to the Indian audience, and tourism boards get the best possible return on their investments.
Certain foreign locations can strike a chord with the movie buffs in a big way and remain etched in their memories for a long time, depending on how the location was projected in the movie.