#Selfie tourism: it’s your sure-fire ticket to validation

I was there, I promise.
QUITE AN EIFFEL I was there, I promise.
Image: Olena Hromova via 123RF

Why do you travel? For experience? For the holiday wardrobe? Or is it really so you can show off to your friends and family that you have #travelgoals?

Everyone now seems to be embracing selfie tourism in all its self-glorification. Los Angeles artist Matty Mo has even created “a selfie installation”, which according to Forbes was “built with the sole purpose of taking the most luxe selfie”. The idea is that by simply sitting in a luxurious leather seat with the right background, you can look like you are #LivingYourBestLife.

The most important part of the trip is #me.
bridge of sighs The most important part of the trip is #me.

Touring while living the hashtag life is our current reality, so businesses are getting clued up to this new phenomenon. We call it selfie tourism.

Eat your-selfie out

Take Salsify at the Roundabout in Cape Town for example. The restaurant, which opened last year, has a “selfie room” according to the Daily Maverick. There is a mirror perfectly placed to help patrons take those drool-worthy Insta snaps of their decadent meals.

If there is one trending topic on Instagram, it has to be food snaps captioned with all the right #foodporn and #foodgasm hashtags. So this innovative idea is just right for the #hashtag generation.

Touring #ForTheGram

Catering to the selfie generation has been a long time coming. Already in 2017 the Conrad Maldives on Rangali Island in the Maldives unveiled an Instagram Butler for their clients. The Telegraph reports that the unique service is much more than someone following you around with a camera, ready to upload onto Instagram. No, the Instagram Butler conducts tours of the island’s “most photogenic locations, all the while offering advice on the best times of day to photograph and the optimal camera angles to use”.

The #Instatrail, as the resort refers to it, can also include specially curated itineraries to give your Instagram feed an alternative look beyond the Maldivian photo ops of white sand beaches – such as stops at Ithaa, the world's first all-glass undersea restaurant, or by participating in a yoga class or a cooking lesson. All photographed, of course.

In fact, if all you care about is filtering your Instagram feed to sepia perfection without the hassle of actually doing much touring or experiencing, then Viator has just the right idea for you. The company’s Photo-stop Selfie Tour of Paris promises that you can “show off that you are in Paris with selfies of you and your friends” when you book their private two-hour, non-guided tour.

It will help you see the city of love’s most iconic landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Champs Elysées, Place de la Concorde, the Louvre and Notre Dame. No need to waste time waiting in line to see the Mona Lisa when, let’s be honest, you are not even that interested in art or can’t be bothered to wait in those ridiculous long lines, but are simply visiting the typical Paris stops #forthegram.

#No more drop-dead selfies!

If you think all this is a ridiculous fad that will pass on to make way for a new one, you are mistaken, because selfie tourism is affecting policy making now. An Irish minister, in a bid to prevent selfie accidents, has come up with a proposal to install “phone seats” (dubbed selfie seats by the media) at popular Irish coastal tourist spots.

“Families and individuals love taking photographs of themselves in areas of natural beauty. But often it is almost impossible to find a steady location or to know where the best shot is,” the junior health minister, Jim Daly, told Irish newspaper the Southern Star. Showing he is social media savvy, Daly added that hashtags could be used as a marketing tool to attract more visitors to Ireland.

“Tourists, being time sensitive, like to know where to go and what to do. They also like clear shots rather than grainy images on their social media and Instagram.”

Hear, hear, minister!

And according to the Irish Mirror, a prototype is already in development. And maybe it’s about time everyone else caught on because, as the saying goes, if you can’t beat them, then it’s time to #pose.

X