A Study has Shown More People are Choosing Travel Destinations for Social Media Likes
If your Instagram feed were to be believed, there's an entire world of Anthony Bourdains out there. Simple people you once went to school with, now transformed into brave modern-day explorers, getting to know parts of the world that other, less daring travellers simply wouldn't dare visit. It all sounds so romantic, but as with so many things that seem romantic in our modern day world, a new study has shown that people are becoming more concerned with social gratification when choosing a travel destination than anything else.
The study, conducted by the University of Georgia, took a study of 750 people who decided to travel to Cuba, a country that, while notedly basing an increasing amount of its future economic health on tourism, is also renowned for its relative economic poverty and general lack of amenities for tourists. So why go there over, say, anywhere else in the Caribbean? For the 'Gram of course, or at least so the researchers found.
Because Cuba has only recently opened itself up to proper tourism, it's still seen as a more 'Authentic' travel destination by many travellers, meaning people are choosing to go there because its more raw nature promises more 'likes' on social media posts about their travels as a result. As the researchers noted, "the narrative 'see Cuba before it becomes 'Mcdonaldised' has been internalised by masses of American tourists."
They also found that this behaviour is far more prevalent in people with short-term travel ambitions. For instance, if someone wanted to visit Cuba in the next year, they were far more likely to be motivated by the potential of social media gratification than those who were willing to visit the country within the next 5 or 10 years. "The symbolic value of social media posts about travel experiences has a greater influence on intentions to travel in the short-term compared to the long-term," said the researchers.
Of course, the aforementioned Bourdain taught us that just about every country has its merits as a potential travel destination. But if you're wondering why someone on your Instagram has decided to take a spontaneous trip to Mongolia in recent months, well, now you know.