Chinese tourists confuse University of Sydney with Hogwarts from Harry Potter

Misleading information published by tourism sites has resulted in a surge of Potter fans visiting the academic establishment

Joanna Whitehead
Wednesday 06 March 2019 16:59 GMT
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The University of Sydney has seen a surge in Chinese tourists visiting campus, who mistakenly believe it to be the site where the Harry Potter film franchise was shot.

While the neo-Gothic architecture of the university buildings bears some resemblance to the fictitious Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, none of the films were filmed in Australia.

The reason for the increased footfall is due to a number of tourism websites suggesting the blockbuster films were actually shot at the university, in an apparent attempt to attract tourists, according to a report by SBS News.

“Our tour guide told us this is where one of the scenes of Harry Potter was filmed,” one tourist told SBS.

Another said the university building was “very famous” for its role in the fantasy saga.

“This place filmed or I think it filmed Harry Potter … it’s very famous and I’ve seen looks of my classmates who have come here to take photos that are so beautiful so that’s why I really wanted to come here,” said another.

The influx of tourists has not gone unnoticed by university personnel, who have witnessed scores of visitors wandering around the Camperdown campus.

Dr Jamie Fraser, senior curator of the Nicholson Museum, which is located inside the Quadrangle building, said he had noted a substantial rise in the number of largely Chinese tourists visiting the university.

The main quadrangle building of the University of Sydney

“There’s been an astonishing increase in visitors throughout the university campus,” he said.

“In two years in February we’ve had more than a 4,000 people increase since 2017 to 2019.

“One reason for that is the neo-Gothic architecture of our main quadrangle; people come to the front desk of our museum and ask us, ‘can you please show us where Harry Potter was filmed?’,” he said.

Sarah Butler, a consumer law expert, said that the false advertising could be in breach of the law.

“If a tour company is offering tours of the University of Sydney and it’s promoting those tours by saying that Harry Potter was filmed at the University of Sydney, when that is not in fact the case, that would likely fall in breach of Australian consumer law,” she said.

When approached about the misleading information, one of the tour operators reportedly said it would need to “consult internally” and that it would “rectify any mistakes.”

In the meantime, Potter-mania continues to reign supreme at this unexpected outpost of the magical fraternity.

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