Heads may roll as €500,000 James Bond flick PR losses disclosed

A western Austrian city ended up with losses of 500,000 Euros after spending more than it earned from promoting its attractions following the shooting of some scenes for a James Bond movie.An investigation by the Federal Audit Office (RH) revealed that the Bregenz Tourismus & Stadtmarketing GmbH agency – in which the city of Bregenz holds a 51 per cent stake – suffered damages around 500,000 Euros.The agency was set up to increase the western city’s popularity. Bregenz city hall bosses hoped for a significant rise in overnight stay figures after a stage was set up on the banks of Lake Constance to be the setting for seven minutes of action in “Quantum of Solace”, the 22nd James Bond film, in 2008. A 250-strong team was on location for nine days in May of that year.Political leaders in Bregenz, the capital of the Alpine province of Vorarlberg, said the shooting of scenes for the blockbuster starring Daniel Craig posed the “opportunity of a century” for its tourism industry.City Hall was also overjoyed when German broadcaster ZDF decided to produce its pre-match show ZDF Arena during the 2008 European Football Championship at the lakeside stage of the Bregenz Festival (Bregenzer Festspiele). The summer event is regarded as one of the cultural highlights in Austria alongside the Salzburg Festival (Salzburger Festspiele).A promotion agency told Bregenz decision-makers the events’ promotion value was 109 million Euros. The RH’s report, which was published today (Tues) stressed it was “impossible to determine” whether the region had substantially benefited from the shooting of scenes for the film and the production of the TV show.Similar controversy overshadowed the shooting of Hollywood action film “Knight and Day” starring Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz in Salzburg in December 2009 as political leaders decided to subsidise the 20th Century Fox production with 300,000 Euros.Deputy Governor Wilfried Haslauer of the conservative People’s Party (ÖVP) claimed two months before shooting started that the project had “immense value” for the city which is most famous for being the birthplace of composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.”The fact they will stay in four and five star hotels (in Salzburg) alone means a created value of 1.2 million Euros. And the tourist image boost will certainly be higher than the one being given to Bregenz by the shooting of the James Bond movie (Quantum of Solace) in 2008,” Haslauer explained at that time.