By PAT HARTMAN
Theodore Koumelis has been keeping up with some statistics. In Travel Daily News, he tells us that each year, Great Britain welcomes to her shores 765,000 people. They visit film locations, hunt down the spot where their favorite music video was filmed, absorb the ambiance of a famous writer’s home, or find the scenic inspiration for some novel they’ve read. Koumelis is the founder and managing editor of TravelDailyNews International, which aspires to be always the most informative source in international tourism. In “2009 could be the year of literary tourism” he gives examples of what literary tourists are looking for:
The year witnesses the National Trust opening of Agatha Christie’s house, Greenway in Devon, where she lived as Mrs Malowan from 1936 to 1959…..A new film written and directed by The Piano’s Jane Campion, Bright Star, explores the three-year romance between 19th century poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne, cut short by Keats’ untimely death at 25.
Koumelis mentions Edinburgh, Scotland, but does not mention what we see as the primary reason to go there (aside from ancestor-hunting, of course.) Edinburgh is where Ian Rankin’s detective stories are set. In the United Kingdom, one out of every ten crime books sold is written by Rankin. Not that numbers in themselves mean much, but these are really, really good detective stories with outstandingly well-drawn characters. There are also descriptions of Scotland that, for some perverse reason, some of us find alluring. (That picture at the top is Edinburgh Castle.)
In other Scottish literary travel news, Kaiya Marjoribanks reports in the Stirling Observer that next year, 2010, will be momentous in Trossachs. This is the area featured in the well-known poem “The Lady of the Lake,” by Sir Walter Scott. The lake in question is Loch Katrine. “Romantic tourism” is another name for the impulse that draws visitors to such places. It’s all about sharing cultural heritage, and we’re all for it.