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noun [countable]

a person who visits a particular place because it was featured in a book or film that they enjoyed


noun [uncountable]

'Tourist locations are seeing up to a 30 per cent surge in bookings from "set-jetters", who like to visit places depicted in films, it was revealed yesterday …'

The Scotsman 9th August 2005

'… I am not part of the phenomenon that is "set-jetting". This involves holidaying in places purely because they have prominently featured in a book or film.'

The Herald 10th August 2005

If you're finding it hard to decide where you'd like to go on holiday this year, why not take inspiration from your favourite film or book? You too could join the ranks of the set-jetters! The set-jetter is a recently identified breed of tourist who holidays in a particular location specifically because it's the setting for a book or film that they're crazy about.

tourist industries across the world have been boosted by set-jetting, one of the biggest
being New Zealand

Recent research by Halifax Travel Insurance revealed that, in the UK, more than 25% of holidaymakers claim to have chosen a particular destination because they have read about it in a book or seen it in a film or TV show. Though this is by no means a new concept, the recent overwhelming increase in popularity of particular locations, including those not traditionally thought of as tourist destinations, has led marketing analysts to coin the terms set-jetting for this new trend and set-jetter for participants.

Tourist industries across the world have been boosted by set-jetting, one of the biggest beneficiaries being New Zealand after the immense success of the film version of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Over in the UK, the tourist industry in Yorkshire has been substantially boosted by the Harry Potter films and the 2003 film Calendar Girls. A recent novel which has provided inspiration for UK tourists is Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, which caused numbers visiting Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland to soar to 68,000 in 2004 compared to 9,500 a decade earlier.

Background – set-jetter and set-jetting

The phenomenon of a film location being the motivation for a particular holiday destination was first recognised in the 1950s, when the film Roman Holiday (1953), starring Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn, inspired a generation of Americans to head to the Italian capital.

The recent coining of the terms set-jetting and set-jetter in recognition of this now fast-growing holiday trend is, of course, a play on the words jet-setting and jet-setter. These are derivatives of the noun jet-set, first attested in 1951 as a reference to wealthy and fashionable people who travelled widely for pleasure. Formation of set-jetting and set-jetter from jet-set and its derivatives hinges on what linguists would technically refer to as metathesis, the transposition of sounds or syllables within a word or between words. Relative to the word jet-setter, set-jetter could in fact be described as a 21st century example of a spoonerism, a transposition of the initial sounds of two words. Spoonerisms are named after the 19th century Revd W. Spooner, who reputedly regularly made errors such as 'You've hissed the mystery lesson' ('You've missed the history lesson') when talking. Strictly-speaking however, spoonerisms are accidental, unlike the deliberate transposition of sounds in set-jetter.

by Kerry Maxwell, author of Brave New Words

This article was first published on 2nd January 2006.

Open Dictionary

Dunning-Kruger effect

the phenomenon by which an incompetent person is too incompetent to understand his own incompetence

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