Image Source: Pixabay
For many years, I’ve documented travels using my trusted dslr camera to preserve fond memories of the places I visited, people I met, and things I did. Another purpose of travel photography—one that’s also close to my heart—is promoting the lesser-known travel destinations.
The power of travel photography is so strong that countries like Japan tap it to boost tourism in the not-so-popular places. In 2014, the “Undiscovered Japan” project was launched by the National Tourism Zones Promotion Council in Tokyo to attract visitors to the 12 unexplored tourism zones in the country like The Water Kamui—KushiroMarsh, Akan, and Mashu—Tourism Zone, Snow Country Tourism Zone, and Kagawa Setouchi Art Tourism Zone, to name a few. To reach more potential tourists, “Undiscovered Japan” features photos and provides information about each tourism zone in English and several other languages. The Japanese government hopes this project will help the country reach 20 million visitors by 2022.
Promoting travel through the internet
Image Source: Pixabay
Photographs are truly helpful in promoting unexplored places, but there is much more influence you can leverage when you are a social media influencer or a travel blogger, as readers look up to you as an authority of some sorts. In this day and age when everything can be googled, your social media site or travel blog is likely to come up as a reference on where to go and what to do. So if you happen to blog about a place that is usually not featured in travel brochures and itineraries, people might consider going there, too.
One of the social media platforms you can use for this purpose is Pinterest, as users usually turn to it for inspiration. As a travel blogger, you can post pinnable photos of unexplored places in your blog so that people can add the images to their own Pinterest boards for inspiration. You can do this to some of your Flickr photos, too. If your photos are precious to you, just be aware of the copyright risks you may run into.
You may be wondering how exactly can Pinterest help you effectively promote not-so-popular travel destinations when not everyone on Pinterest is looking to travel. Troy Thompson, creative leadership workshop speaker and founder of Pattern Service Design, has this to say:
“The power of Pinterest is not its obvious yet unproven ability to drive traffic and (perhaps) sales, but rather the window it opens into the travel aspirations of the consumer. By telling the world where they want to go, rather than where they have been, travelers on Pinterest are sharing rare insights into their demographic and psychographic preferences.” And being the potential tourist’s motivation to actually aspire to travel to a particular place is what destination marketers prefer, Thompson said.
However, it is not only the local tourism board that benefits when you share stories about unexplored places. Your readers benefit, too. I have always believed in sharing my travel discoveries with people—especially those I have learned from the locals. There is a certain joy in visiting the least explored places, which cannot be felt in the more popular tourist destinations. Aside from that, the knowledge you’ll gain in immersing yourself in the rich and unadulterated culture of a certain place is something that your online followers will surely appreciate. Not to mention the bragging rights for being among the first ones to know of and actually step into that place.
Lastly, traveling to unexplored places is usually inexpensive—some won’t even cost you a penny. Just imagine the number of budget-savvy people you’ll be able to help once this option is presented to them. They wouldn’t think they couldn’t afford to take that vacation or side trip anymore.
A gentle reminder
Image Source: Pixabay
Environmentalists may argue that promoting unexplored destinations like virgin beaches may cause more harm than good. Usually, if not managed well, a sudden outpouring of guests can cause litter and damage to a particular spot and its surroundings, not to mention disturbance to the nearby communities.
However, I think that as writers, photographers, and bloggers, the best we can do is put out a reminder for anyone who wants to visit these places to avoid leaving any garbage, avoid taking anything they are not supposed to take from the place, and respect the culture, traditions, and laws of the place.
But we can only do so much. It’s still up to the local agencies concerned and the tourists themselves to make sure that the beauty of any destination, whether mainstream or not, is not wasted in the process of making it known to the world.