Searches for hotels in the fictional African country of Wakanda are up by 620 percent, following the release of Black Panther.
According to the Daily Mail, “Hotelscan.com reported that the number of people landing on its Wisconsin Wakanda Water Park page is up by 620 percent and Hotels.com reported that searches for neighbouring Wakanda Park are up by 55 percent year on year.”
“Hotels.com, meanwhile, said it had spotted spikes in searches to other Wakanda namesakes around the world. It said searches for Wauconda, Illinois (pronounced identically to Wakanda), are up more than 25 percent and Makanda, also in Illinois, are up over 40 percent year on year,” they continued. “Further afield, Wakaya, in Fiji, are up over 235 percent and Wakkanai in Japan is enjoying a more than 55 percent year-on-year uplift.”
In a statement, a spokesman for Hotelscan.com claimed, “The fact we’ve seen such an increase in the number of site visits to the Wakanda Water Park destination page on our website since the launch of Black Panther suggests that, until people visit our website searching for trips, they’re not aware it’s a fictional destination… Either that, or people are more interested than ever in attending the Water Park, but we think that the movie has something to do with it!”
Isabelle Pinson, the vice president of Hotels.com parent EMEA also commented on the increased popularity of Wakanda searches, declaring, “Our hotel portfolio spans more than 200 counties and territories around the world but not yet Wakanda. We’re looking into it.”
“The film has touched the hearts and minds of millions of film fans around the world,” Pinson proclaimed. “It’s a brilliant watch and we regularly see that pop culture inspires travel choices. We love that holidaymakers are seeking the Black Panther’s homeland, from Wisconsin to Japan. Wakanda forever!”
In February, a petition calling on Disney to donate 25 percent of Black Panther’s profits to the black community received over 10,000 signatures and support from actress Vivica A. Fox, while the movie was criticized for its lack of LGBT representation.