If Instagram makes you a bad tourist, here’s what to do
In recent years, there has been an increase in incidents that involve tourists at popular destinations. The reports of a defacing at the Colosseum, Rome, show how behavior has changed even in places where there were rarely problems before.
What is behind these horrendous crimes? My research indicates that social media is one answer. Instagram and TikTok make it simple to discover “hidden gems” restaurants and new destinations that you can add to your bucket-list. This democratization has also had other effects.
This article is a part of Quarter Life. It’s a series of articles about issues that affect those of us who are in our 20s and 30s. The challenges of starting a career, taking care of your mental health and the excitement of having a child, or adopting a pet, are all part of the Quarter Life series. These articles explore questions and provide answers to help us navigate through this turbulent time in our lives.
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Because people now see their social media connections from their home environment traveling in an exotic location, they assume (consciously or not) that behavior they ordinarily carry out at home is also acceptable in that holiday destination.
It is called social evidence when we use the behavior of others to guide our own decisions. While on vacation , people are more likely to behave hedonistically. Travellers are also looking to social media sites for proof on how other people behave. When their friends from home behave badly on holiday, it can have a domino effect of bad behavior.
I’ve uncovered other bad travel habits and attitudes that have arisen as a result of social media-driven tourism.
The identified victim effect is one example. It explains that people are more likely sympathise with tragedies if they know the victims. Tourists are usually sheltered from the local community in resorts and hotels. They may (incorrectly) believe that traveling to a faraway place is an excuse for bad behavior. They ignore or underestimate the impact their actions have on the locals and the economy.
The temptation to share photos and videos on social media when people visit a beautiful location is strong. As I have argued, this cycle leads to more travel.
Tourists first see photos posted by their friends from a particular place (identified through geotags). Then, they want to go back and take similar photos. They post the photos on the social networks they first saw.
social standing can be achieved by being able to visit the same places and share your experiences with friends or other online contacts. It also means that, in some cases, travelers are more focused on creating content rather than exploring, discovering, or respecting local customs.
Bali has a reputation as a destination that is influenced by social media. Influencers are attracted to the photogenic island with its yoga retreats.
Bali has introduced new guidelines in response to the misbehavior of tourists. These will be implemented by June 2023. There are rules for proper behavior in temples and around the island, as well as with locals and the environment.
Due to the sacred nature of Bali’s mountains and volcanoes, tourists must now have a license before renting motorbikes. The only places where travelers can stay are registered hotels and villas. This will affect a lot of Airbnb properties. Bali has created a “tourists task force” that will enforce the restrictions through raids or investigations if needed.
A new guideline states that you should not be aggressive or use harsh language towards other tourists, locals, or government officials, either in Bali or online. Social media is a major factor in the bad behavior of tourists.
The perfect shot. Windcolors/Shutterstock
Other destinations have also taken similar measures. Iceland, Hawaii, and other destinations have pledged to adhere to local laws and customs. The campaigns No Drama in Switzerland, See Vienna, not #Vienna in Austria, Be More of a Finn in Finland, and How To Amsterdam by the Netherlands are all aimed at attracting good-behaved visitors.
Some places, such as Thailand’s Maya Bay, have gone further to close their doors to tourists.
Travel with respect
When you travel, always remember that you are a visitor in the community you’re visiting. Here are some tips to help you get asked back.
1. Do your research
You may not be aware of the impact that your actions can have on local communities, even if you are a frequent traveler. You can act more responsibly if you have some information, either from your research or the local government. Look up information or guidelines on the local culture or safety norms before you travel.
It doesn’t matter if you like the customs. You should also be aware if the place is more conservative than what you’re used to.
2. Drop your phone…
When traveling, research shows that it can alienate from the surroundings if people are focused more on their devices than their destination.
The most memorable travel moments are often when you make a connection with someone or learn something that you’ve not done before. This is harder to do if you are constantly on your phone.
3. Use your influence to do good
Influencers reveal the crowds at the back of the most Instagrammable places in popular “Instagram Vs Reality” posts.
If you show your social media contacts the less-than-ideal conditions that are behind the iconic photos, they may reconsider their travel motivations. Are they only going to places to take the perfect selfie? More evidence about these conditions being circulated online could result in a societal shift from social media-induced travel.