Many moons ago, back in 2013 to be more specific I was invited to give a keynote at the annual event Responsible Destinations in Tourism. Held in Barcelona for that edition, the various sessions and speakers opened my eyes to the emerging trend of overtourism.
The content of my keynote was around social networks and their role in the travel marketing ecosystem. Since then, social media have grown in importance and we now know how important they are in the travel decision-making process. Not to mention during the travel experience itself, as travelers seek more and more to have instagramable moments, for example!
Travelling Under The Social Influence
This is why it’s so refreshing to see how Tourism New Zealand is handling this phenomenon with their usual tongue-in-cheek humor.
The aim of this most recent campaign is to highlight that there are many incredible things to do in New Zealand beyond the social trends. The main character, part of the ficticious SOS (Social Observation Squad) team, makes fun of people putting themselves in danger trying to get that Insta-perfect shot.
This is something we observe here in Canada as well, in remote national Parks just like in urban cities with mural art or panoramic views. It is something most, if not all, destinations across the globe experience at some level or another.
Time To Rethink How We Travel
Kudos to New Zealand for their approach here. It echoes in many ways what the folks at Destination Think voiced in their series of articles on the 3 recovery phases for destinations. Posted last year on their corporate blog, Destination Think outlined the three steps DMO need to implement amidst this pandemic: mitigate, restart, reimagine.
As we will eventually exit this crisis, the third and final stage will be of the utmost importance. Once we can fly again with less constraints, will we simply start travelling feverishly just like we did before March 2020? Or should we not take this opportunity to address the climate issues plaguing our planet and figure out how travel and tourism are both part of the problem AND the solutions?