Monday, October 2, 2023

How TikTok transforms travelling and tourism in the digital age

The global tourism industry is set to bounce back strongly after the post-pandemic speed bump. On World Tourism Day, actors and stakeholders in the industry are taking the next big step in rejuvenating travel, in line with this year’s theme, “Rethinking Tourism”.

More importantly, tourism is slated to play a crucial role in the resurrection of Sri Lanka’s distressed economic condition, by attracting foreign exchange earnings and complementing the growth rate in the years to come. With the country looking for a way out of the mess it finds itself in on the economic front, the tourism sector will be expected to revive its fortunes, which in the past had been a source of much glory for the Sri Lankan economy.

The digital revolution has altered how travellers book trips and decide where to go. Travellers can now research potential destinations, find travel advisors, and even use social media platforms as their main form of communication in place of email. In Sri Lanka too, as travellers become more tech-savvy, they are increasingly beginning to rely on digital platforms like TikTok to plan and influence their travel itineraries.

As a matter of fact, TikTok has grown immensely popular for showcasing authentic moments of immersive travel, including interacting with nature in various ways, sampling street food across cultures, or showcasing distinct local experiences. With over 1.2 billion users across the world, TikTok possesses the power to attract the global travel fraternity with its short video format.

And so, in the ever-evolving digital Sri Lankan landscape, short video platforms like TikTok are pioneering the next big revolution in the tourism sector.

 How youngsters travel

Planning a trip has always been an exciting prospect for those who love to travel. But in particular, today’s generation has grown fond of genuine and real travel experiences, which is why they adore looking to their community for reliable travel inspirations.

Not only that, but modern travellers are equally eager to share their gripping tales and real-life images of their travels on social media sites like TikTok, completing a creative cycle that in turn motivates countless others.

According to a study by Amp Agency, 84% of millennials and 73% of non-millennials are very likely to base their travel plans on vacation pictures, videos, or status updates of others.

TikTok emerges as the platform where the community is ready to express themselves and tell their stories through genuine, visual, and geo-tagged content that is simultaneously alluring and liberating in today’s digital Sri Lanka. This is made possible by simple editing tools, native platform content, and creators who supply dynamic content.

The allure of a travel experience on TikTok is that personal, approachable, and motivating window through which tourists take a journey before deciding whether it’s worthwhile–the journey before the journey.

The ease of using TikTok as a creative platform, where users can publish original posts with a wide variety of sound, effects, and other creative tools, further enhances this interplay of imagination and reality. Features like using popular music, hashtags, and filters let content creators reach a large audience.

The future of tourism in Sri Lanka

Famous for our culture, cuisine, and unforgettable natural beauty, Sri Lanka is surrounded by rivers, coasts, beaches, historical and religious sites, hills, forests, waterfalls, and botanical gardens. Sri Lanka is also home to many World Heritage sites such as the sacred cities of Anuradhapura and Kandy, ancient cities of Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya, the Sinharaja Forest Reserve and plenty more localities which are visited by numerous travellers every year.

Authentic content creators on TikTok are now taking to the platform to showcase their immersive experiences of these places–increasing their appeal to not only domestic travellers but also inbound tourists. Creators on TikTok are also exploring hidden gems, off the beaten path, and encouraging and influencing travellers to explore new territories. There are numerous instances of TikTok’s success in generating interest in previously undiscovered locations, which resulted in a generous increase in tourist foot traffic.

These real-life stories have revived the desire for travel and fundamentally changed how destinations are marketed internationally. Travel and tourism marketers are increasingly taking advantage of the opportunity provided by this new generation of digital platforms.

Additionally, the platform provides a fantastic opportunity for travel destinations and hospitality brands to promote themselves in an authentic way. With 34 billion views, the hashtag #TikTokTravel is one of the most popular ones on the app. Using this hashtag for tourism and travel businesses is a great way to market locations or activities.

As the rate of travel and tourism picks up, TikTok offers brands an unbeatable chance to be at the top of travellers’ wish lists and plans, to ignite more in-depth and meaningful travel conversations.

The most effective way to connect with the next generation of travel buyers is through platforms like TikTok. The ability of TikTok to influence and inspire Sri Lanka’s travel trends is thus an opportunity that could become a model for genuine and inclusive tourism in the years to come.

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