In Japan, anime tourism is very much welcome to several places, such as small towns and hotels. These locations in turn get themselves ready for the incoming surge of anime pilgrims whenever an anime features them. However, the same can’t be said for other countries, as one Australian hotel has shown. In Free! Eternal Summer, Rin and Haruka went to Australia, and surely enough, they had to check into a hotel. Given Kyoto Animation’s dedication to detail, they actually used a real-life Australian hotel for the one Rin stayed in. That hotel is the The Russell Hotel at The Rocks in Sydney, and it’s gotten a surge of anime fans visiting the place. However, the added attention the Aussie hotel has gotten has caught it unprepared for worldwide fame.
Rin and Haru stayed at the hotel’s Room #25, and surely enough, anime pilgrims booked that room in advance a year in advance. The anime also featured the hotel selling a few Australian animal and flower key rings. Needless to say, anime fans went a bit crazy and bought a lot of them.
General manager Gary Quass says that he’s sold 460 of these key rings so far. These include people who actually went to the hotel to buy them in person, as well as people who ordered via mail. Some buyers are even Free! fans from Ecuador.
The hotel has gotten so much attention that Quass admitted he regrets charging the KyoAni crew AU$500 to film. “Had we known about the scope of the show, we would’ve given it to them for free,” he said.
Well, that’s certainly one more anime pilgrimage spot Free! fans can visit. Of course, there’s also the town of Iwami, which is the setting of the anime itself.