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Millennial Travellers Paying for Proof ‘They Were There’ Sparks Asian Photography Boom


Millennial Travellers Paying for Proof ‘They Were There’ Sparks Asian Photography Boom

We’ve all tried — and sometimes failed miserably — to take the perfect selfie to show off our latest adventure. Some people are simply better at turning the camera on themselves. But millennials’ passion for showing “they were there,” wherever “there” may be, is proving to be a boon to Asian tourism and a burgeoning photography industry.

According to Bloomberg, young travelers in Asia are so focused on capturing the perfect images for their social media feeds, that many tourism companies across the region are changing the way they operate to accommodate this game of social one-upmanship. 

Instead of simply creating a dizzying array of ziplines where visitors can enjoy zooming above the canopy of Pule Payung, in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, for instance, the Kalibiru Tourism Village created scenic lookout platforms and hired photographers to help visitors capture the incredible vistas. The images are uploaded directly to the visitors’ (a.k.a. paying customers’) phones and, boom, they’re ready to show off another grand adventure to their followers. 

Interestingly, the article quotes Tim Hartnoll, owner and executive chairman of the Bawah Island eco-resort in Indonesia, saying, “The new generation of wealthier tourists are looking for authenticity and transparency.” This statement seems somewhat paradoxical to the notion of hiring photographers and building scenic lookouts to create a somewhat contrived adventure photo. It makes me think the business model will rapidly grow and then crash just as rapidly, as the “authenticity” of these moments is lost to commercialism. 

What do you think? Are sites such as the ones described in the article simply crass commercialism that will fail when the next big thing arrives? Or is this a valuable service that makes amazing images more accessible to everyone? Leave a comment below. 

[Lead image used with permission by Martin Criminale]


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