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British tourism hopes to cash in on Sherlock Holmes

  • New movie "Sherlock Holmes" inspires guides to places of interest to fans of the detective
  • British tourism officials hope the movie will bring more tourists to London
  • Many are unaware that Holmes was a fictional character
  • The movie has already made more than $300 million worldwide

London, England (CNN) -- Sherlock Holmes the movie has already made more than $300 million at the box office worldwide and British tourism officials are hoping it means money for them too.

Britain's tourism board has been promoting films for the past 15 years, so they know just how lucrative a movie like "Sherlock Homes" can be.

"To give you an example of a typical blockbuster film, it is normally seen by about 120 million people in the first three weeks of opening," Visit Britain official Laurence Bresh told CNN.

"Even if a small percentage of those come to visit Britain as a result of this particular film, that's going to have a huge boost in some of those tourism attractions featured in our promotion."

Video: Sherlock Holmes tourism
Video: 'Sherlock Holmes' premieres

As much of "Sherlock Holmes" is set in London this means big business for museum officials and gift shop operators.

The Sherlock Holmes Museum at 221b Baker Street is the address where the fictional detective lived, according to the stories by Conan Doyle.

Nearby, a nine-foot statue of Holmes greets visitors at the Baker Street Underground station.

Inside the museum, visitors can check out Holmes' study, sit in his armchair by the fireside, examine his calabash pipe and observe his chemistry equipment.

"I think Hollywood has put its magic touch on the legend, and they've put, as it were, a magnifying glass over the character and of course things you could say are slightly exaggerated, but that's the wont of Hollywood and that's what makes these blockbusters successful," John Riley, Assistant Curator of the Sherlock Holmes Museum said.

"So any new perspective, any new angle always just helps to perpetuate the legend of Sherlock Holmes. And that indirectly will obviously benefit the museum."

About 70,000 visitors a year stop by the Victorian lodging house, though officials are expecting a spike of interest fueled by the new movie.

While thousands of tourists flock to visit the museum, many of its visitors are unaware that Sherlock Holmes was actually not real person.

"A few people do think he is a real character, particularly with the tour of his house on 'Baker Street' adding fuel to the fire so to speak," Mark Di-Toro from Visit Britain said.

"That is just testament to Doyle's brilliant writing with his true to nature locations in the books meaning tourist can really relate and visit all the fantastic locations."

A. Pawlowski and Phil Han contributed to this report.