One area that digital storytelling is having a profound impact on is tourism. According to the article, “Digital storytelling to help boost Nepal’s tourism industry,” published on May 28, 2014, on ShanghaiDaily.com, photographer Jay Poudyal is generating interest in Nepal travel with his website StoriesOfNepal.com.
Poudyal started the website in October of last year with the hope to, “showcase the real pulse of Nepal’s cities and villages through the unadulterated stories of ordinary people.” StoriesOfNepal.com offers striking photography and short profiles of Nepal citizens living their daily lives. This view of Nepal is different than the all too often seen “images of poverty” and “political infighting” often associated with the country. Poudyal grew his site substantially through social media, and the Facebook Page for Stories Of Nepal currently has over 43,000 “Likes.” Pouydal has even bigger plans for StoriesOfNepal.com as he is planning to, “travel to all of Nepal’s 75 districts and publish a coffee table book.”
But digital storytelling to promote tourism is not only an international practice. The Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York, began using mobile technologies to engage tourists in the Greater Rochester area in 2013. In collaboration with VisitRochester, students and faculty at RIT designed a mobile experience called, “Brick City Tours,” which uses “a location’s history, storytelling, culture and arts to create personalized tour experiences and educational opportunities.” The technology works by automatically sending bits of history and culture to a visitor’s phone either by text, phone call or even augmented reality.
After the tour is over, the mobile technology then gathers, “both visitor and professional content to create souvenirs based on the specific places each person visits.” These souvenirs include postcards, photo books, posters and more.
In a keynote talk at ITB Berlin, a travel trade show, Ross Borden, co-founder of independent travel publication Matador, discussed his company’s success using digital storytelling in creating, “custom content and advertising campaigns.” Borden spoke to the decline of traditional online banner ads, and instead, stressed ad targeting and producing custom content that is engaging, shareable and authentic. Additionally, in his talk, Borden laid out a 14-point strategy for marketing tourism with digital storytelling, which included points such as connecting with influencers, picking great titles for posts or features, and striving for 100% originality in content.
In the age of digital media, simple ads that encourage tourism might not have the impact they once did. Instead, locales can aim to become tourist destinations by utilizing emerging technologies and digital storytelling platforms that engage potential tourists.
Abruzzini, B. (2014). Digital storytelling to help boost nepal’s tourism industry. Retrieved June 10, 2014, Retrieved from http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/article_xinhua.aspx?id=221096
Alcos, C. (2013). Digital storytelling: The new face of the travel industry. Retrieved June 10, 2014, Retrieved from http://matadornetwork.com/pulse/digital-storytelling-the-new-face-of-the-travel-industry/
Bureau, S. (2013). RIT enhances the tourism experience with mobile innovations. Retrieved June 10, 2014, Retrieved from http://www.rit.edu.flagship.luc.edu/news/story.php?id=50062