Not everyone is super-excited to see a famous landmark of the likes of Eiffel Tower or Brandenburg Gate. At least that’s what the annual survey we carried out at the end of 2017 tells us.
While the emphasis of the survey was to select a ‘City of the Year’, for which you voted Berlin (signaling what #cityreads to expect in the next months but brace yourself for some Lisbon stories too; quite many of you outvoted Berliners on the go), we also asked you a couple of other questions.
One of those other questions which survey respondents answered was about interests and preferences as pursuing new traveling plans for 2018. And here came the most surprising results. 45% of the respondents ticked the box that they are most eager to look for hidden, unknown spots while exploring a new city, possibly on a quest to find some genuine local street art for example. Another 45% ticked the box which said that they want to learn more about the local culture, the customs and habits of the people in the city they visit next.
Only 5% answered that they are interested to enter more museums, see collections and check in at historically significant locations, with a same percentage of survey-takers further having said they were interested in experiencing local nightlife instead. The only box left unticked, with no votes at all: the one about interest in seeing some of the famous landmarks around the world, the likes of the Eiffel or the Brandenburg Gate.
Of course, this was not an exhaustive survey, and yes, there must be many people who would love to see precisely landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, but there are few questions which could be opened for discussion. For instance, a traveler who has passed many miles to reach their desired destination only to… get stuck in an endless queue, to go up the tower, or to face a similar queue to enter the Catacombs of Paris – will that make sense for the journey? For many, wasting too much time in a queue is out of the way.
Another reason that people might be discouraged people to visit such places is that these have become the ultimate images of the cities, first associations. For instance, places like the Eiffel Tower have been so much exported in the wake of mass tourism and mass media, that people might not find them attractive as they would have in the past. Their authenticity is somewhat reduced, the least to say. After seeing the Eiffel Tower on postcards, TV, the internet for the hundreds of times, is it worth it to see in reality?
Moreover, should we acknowledge that precisely business, corporate and cultural political interests, which can benefit from tourism, have helped iconic landmarks lose a part of their glamour and authenticity? Are places under the radar more fun, more attractive for ‘a relentless traveler’? And are famous landmarks only the more interesting for ‘a regular tourist’?
Perhaps it’s just fine to check it out, but to queue to climb up the tower is certainly a time valuable enough to be spent elsewhere, especially if your stay in Paris is too short. Besides, a megacity has more to offer than only its most exported attractions which can just be purchased in the form of a copycat souvenir.
We would love to hear from you in the comments below!