Wakanda forever: the Black Panther effect in travel searches

After the success of the superhero film, many places with a similar sounding name to 'Wakanda' have seen a spike in their searches

This image released by Disney -Marvel Studios shows, from left, Danai Gurira, Lupita Nyong'o and Florence Kasumba in a scene from "Black Panther." Gurira says the representation of women in “Black Panther” is important for young girls to see. The film features a number of powerful female leads, including Gurira as the head of a special forces unit, Lupita Nyong’o as a spy, Angela Bassett as the Queen Mother and newcomer Letitia Wright as a scientist and inventor.  (Matt Kennedy/Disney/Marvel Studios via AP)
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The success of Black Panther is getting translated into travel searches with Wakanda Park in Menomonie getting into the wish list of many travellers, according to a survey.

Set shortly after Captain America: Civil War, Black Panther shows T'Challa returning home to a fictional isolated, technologically-advanced African nation of Wakanda to become king.

According to the survey, shared by online accommodation booking website Hotels.com, searches for Wakanda Park in Menomonie have surged by 55 per cent year-on-year in the last two months, read a statement.

Read more: Black Panther clears $1 billion globally and smashes UAE records too

After spotting the spike in searches to Wakanda Park, Wisconsin, the travel experts at the platform noticed similar peaks in demand for other Wakanda namesakes around the world.

Wauconda, Illinois (pronounced identically to Wakanda) was up more than 25 per cent and Makanda, also in Illinois, was up over 40 per cent year-on-year.

Further, Wakaya, in Fiji was up over 23.5 per cent and Wakkanai in Japan enjoyed a more than 55 per cent year on year uplift.

The search results for 'Wakanda' on Hotels.com.
The search results for 'Wakanda' on Hotels.com.

The search data is for January and February 2018 compared to January and February 2017.

Jessica Chuang, Hotels.com Director, Regional Marketing Greater China, SEA and India said: "The film has touched the hearts and minds of millions of film fans around the world.

Read more: Black Panther is a high point in the history of black cinema

"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."

Black Panther is among the first films by the house of Marvel Studios which predominantly has a black cast and also shows a number of strong women of substance who work as the protagonist T'Challa's allies.

Distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Black Panther features Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong'o, Michael B Jordon, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright, Angela Bassett, Forest Whittaker and Martin Freeman, among others. The film released in India on February 16.