Before Game of Thrones shot new scenes for Season 7 at Spain's quiet San Juan de Gaztelugatxe heritage site, not many of us knew of its existence. Now, for fans of the show at least, it's highly recognisable as the dramatic backdrop for Dragonstone, Daenerys Targaryen's castle - and, following the release of the latest season, started drawing some 2,500 tourists per day.
Croatia's Dubrovnik was subject to the same surge in interest after King's Landing was shot there in earlier seasons of the show, and continues to be overrun six years later.
Similarly, the Lord of the Rings franchise was attributed, at least in part, to a staggering 50 per cent growth in tourism in New Zealand, where it was filmed, between the release of the first movie in 2001 and 2016.
San Juan de Gaztelugatxe Photo: Alamy
Indeed, Tourism New Zealand's Director of PR, René de Monchy, says that one in three international tourists (about 437,000 people), have some kind of Middle-Earth experience when they visit and nearly one in five claim The Hobbit was a factor in them choosing to go.
In short, while we rarely consider them, the location scouts who source these film settings have pretty interesting - and highly influential - jobs. So who better to ask where the world's most unspoiled corners remain, than someone who spends their life hunting for them?
We spoke to three scouts: Jared Connon, responsible for New Zealand's role in Lord of the Rings; Paul Manwaring, from London-based location company Find; and Pancho Casagrande, from American agency Red Creek Productions.
Here's what we discovered.
What makes a great location scout?
Connon, who after 23 years as a location scout has now moved into the role of production management, tells FilmQuest: "To capture that extensive knowledge of a country, you need to be able to research and communicate across multiple networks, which is a skill set you need to always keep honing.
"Having an intimate knowledge of the country is important, but often you may need to enter a part of the country you have never visited, or be asked to find something you've never had to look for before, which is when your ability to communicate with people, seek help, and undertake effective research is crucial to being able to provide the right locations for the project."
Manwaring, an ex-army captain who has worked on more than 500 TV commercials and music videos, tells us of the qualities required for success: "Adaptability, good photography, project management abilities, people skills, patience, perseverance, map reading ability, creative vision, excellent negotiating skills, and a willingness to think outside the box."
He adds: "I always ask trainee scouts if they think they could talk their way into a stranger's house to photograph their daughter's bedroom. Not once, but perhaps a dozen times a day."
What have been your favourite locations?
"On The Lord of the Rings, my favourite location would have been Mt Ruapehu," Connon says. "It was my first real large-scale location that I had to manage and was such a hugely logistical and political challenge that I relished every moment of it. We filmed in so many different areas around the National Park, with three different film crews all at once.
"When a snow storm ripped through, crushing our marquees and shutting the filming down, we had to react quickly and extract ourselves to the lower slopes so we could keep on shooting. Filming there I made close friends with so many of the locals, some who still work with me today as my most trusted colleagues. I will forever have a very close relationship with the mountain and the region."
Casagrande favours South America's wildest reaches. "There are incredible landscapes in Argentina," he says. "Specifically Salta, the Catamarca and Jujuy Provinces in the northwest Argentina, for otherworldly, desert locations. For jungle settings, the forest of Tucumán. And for winter wonderlands, Argentine Patagonia."
What have been the toughest jobs?
Manwaring, a particular fan of Scotland's west coast, says: "The hardest locations are always the ones where a director has a specific vision in mind. I once needed to find a 150ft long garden, with evergreen trees on the south flank and an access road behind those trees for a 150ft hydraulic crane to sit.
"The shoot was taking place in winter, but was a summer scene, and we needed it south facing as the producer wanted the scene back-lit. That was hard."
"Another project involved filming on London Bridge, the London Underground and outside Buckingham Palace all in one day," he goes on.
"I cannot tell you how many permits are required for each of those, and the amount of logistical planning and liaising with various authorities - including, of course, armed police."
How do you continue to unearth hidden gems when so few unexplored places remain?
Manwaring, who spends about half of his time on the road, states: "They just crop up. Things change. People forget about certain places and the next generation finds them."
Pure dedication and time appear to be the main factors. Connon, for example, spent almost four years scouring New Zealand by land and air to find locations for The Hobbit.
Wadi Rum, Jordan Photo: Shutterstock
Ireland and Iceland are already famous because of Game of Thrones now. Where will the next popular locations be?
"I think Kazakhstan is a fantastically untapped source," Manwaring tells us, while Casagrande states: "In South America I think Peru and Brazil have great possibilities."
As for Connon, it's still New Zealand, but somewhere he's not used before. "Northland is a very under-utilised part of the country for filming and yet it has some of the most amazing locations available in New Zealand," he says.
Bay of Islands Photo: Alamy
"Around the Bay of Islands, not only are the islands stunning, but the beaches all around that coastline are some of the most unique and beautiful locations you could ever imagine. I've had a few projects over the years consider the region, but we've never landed anything significant."
The Telegraph, London
See also: The world's most amazing film locations