Book-loving tourists swarm to US cities

US cities, Portland and Seattle, have been attracting the attention of tourists who are visiting them following their depiction in the novel, Fifty Shades of Grey.

The novel, which is being hailed as an erotic best seller, is expected to increase tourist flows into the two cities. Many of the ‘important’ scenes in the novel take place in Seattle and Portland, and with plans afoot for a film version of the book, the cities are attracting more tourists who are keen to soak up the novel’s ambience. Hotels and service companies have reported higher bookings, supposedly due to inquisitive customers that have been eager to visit the places depicted in the novel.

To re-live the scenes in the novel, tourists have been making dinner reservations, visiting bars, or simply taking in the cities’ atmosphere. There are passages in the book where the main protagonists meet in an elevator, and now the elevator has become a star attraction for tourists.

Hotels have been quick to capitalise on the interest, and for those who want to create their own fantasy, hotels in Seattle and Portland have come up with elaborate packages. One example is Seattle’s Hotel Max, which offers a $1,669 two-night package that also includes a skippered sunset cruise. The sail around Puget Sound enjoyed by the book’s characters has inspired the cruise.

There are also other more-costly packages that include appetisers, wine, dinner and a helicopter ride over Portland.

Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James is part of a trilogy, and has retained its number one spot on the New York Times bestseller’s list for fiction for the past 22 weeks.