Where the bloody hell is this? Use of incorrect footage in travel industry on the rise

Beautiful small island in the middle of the south pacific ocean with beach huts, lounge chairs, palm trees, surrounded with beautiful clear turquoise water. Islet, Mamanuca Islands, Fiji, Melanesia
Edited by Travel Weekly


    A tourism campaign in the Philippines last week didn’t quite go to plan after it was revealed the promotional video featured footage that wasn’t of the Philippines.

    DDB Philippines were forced to apologise after it was revealed the commercial was almost entirely made up of scenes from different countries including Indonesian rice paddies, a desert in the United Arab Emirates and an airport in Switzerland.

    The faux pas may have gone unnoticed if it wasn’t for Filipino blogger Sass Rogando Sasot, who posted her discovery online.

    Snapped. Fake pics spotted by blogger.

    Back in 2017, the head of Lithuania’s state tourism agency resigned after admitting her agency used landscape photos taken in other countries in a social media campaign for the country.

    Ironically, the campaign was called “Real is Beautiful” and cost A$194,236.

    At the time, Prime Minister Saulius Skvernelis saw the lighter side of things by posting a photo of the European Union’s headquarters in Brussels on Facebook with the comment “We are moving government to this building tomorrow. Real is beautiful”.

    Will AI make destination images less trustworthy?

    While amusing, mistakes like these are becoming more common, as is the use of altered images.

    According to the latest Getty Images & iStock VisualGPS Consumer survey, 69 per cent of consumers say they care if images are created on a computer or were taken “in the real world”.

    The new research surveyed a nationally representative sample of 500 respondents across Australia and New Zealand on their attitudes and behaviours towards travel, technology and culture.

    With two-thirds of respondents unable to tell if an image or video has been manipulated, the survey reveals heightened concern about the authenticity of content in Australasia.

    This is leading to calls for greater transparency on content creation, with 89 per cent of consumers saying they want brands to be upfront if an image or video has been altered in their campaigns.

    When it comes to the travel industry in particular, people are more likely to view a travel company positively if it uses real imagery versus modified or altered imagery depicting a holiday destination.

    The travel industry is one of the top three industries most likely to experience negative backlash from the use of manipulated images, with 40 per cent of all respondents saying it would negatively impact their opinion of the brand.

    Not so real Lithuania.

    Kate Rourke, Head of Creative Insights, Asia Pacific at Getty Images & iStocksaid the incident in the Philippines is a prime example of the importance of authenticity.

    “This backlash demonstrates people’s desire for realism. Our data tells us they are looking for images and videos that reflect real local culture, real people and real experiences,” she said.

    When it comes to destination and tourism campaigns, another factor that can influence purchasing decisions for travellers in Australia and New Zealand is “seeing people like me”.

    According to the survey, 79 per cent of respondents want to see visuals and videos that depict travellers who look like them and their family and friends enjoying the destination.

    “Travellers in Australasia value unique and personalised travel experiences which allow them to explore their own personal interests.

    “With travellers favouring local culture over well-known attractions, this is where real and custom stock content showing different people and locations in campaigns can really help travel brands attract a wider audience,” Rourke said.

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