'Seen all this before': Tourism NZ says ditch influencer shots for something new

Elle Hunt in Auckland
·2-min read
<span>Photograph: Raquel Mogado/Alamy Stock Photo/Alamy Stock Photo</span>
Photograph: Raquel Mogado/Alamy Stock Photo/Alamy Stock Photo

New Zealand’s tourism agency is seeking to edge out influencer-style photoshoots at tourism hotspots with a tongue-in-cheek campaign against “travelling under the social influence”.

In a video, the comedian Thomas Sainsbury stars as a lone ranger in the “social observation squad”, chiding tourists for perpetuating tropes such as a hat-wearing woman in lavender field, a man quietly contemplating on a rock, and “a classic one in these parts: the summit spreadeagle”.

“We’ve seen all this before. We all have,” Sainsbury tells the couple caught posing with their arms and legs splayed out atop a mountain.

The call by Tourism NZ to skip the cliche social media shots and “share something new” follows the launch in May 2020 of its Do Something New campaign to boost domestic tourism while borders remained closed to international visitors.

Related: Instacrammed: the big fib at the heart of New Zealand picture-perfect peaks

Travellers were encouraged to share their creative travel shots with #DoSomethingNewNZ to go into win a $500 domestic travel voucher.

“We noticed that the same pictures or poses kept coming up, time and time again, no matter the location,” Bjoern Spreitzer, Tourism NZ domestic manager, was quoted as saying by Stuff. “There are so many incredible things to do in New Zealand, beyond the social trends.”

Instagram has driven the popularity of a few scenic spots in New Zealand, including the tree in Lake Wanaka and the day hike to Roy’s Peak nearby.

In 2018 a photograph of the “social media queue” on the track went viral for showing the behind-the-scenes of the “summit spreadeagle” shot.

At the time, the Department of Conservation warned that tourists were often so “fixated” on photo opportunities that they put themselves in harm’s way.

In Tourism NZ’s new campaign Sainsbury singles out “run-me-over” photos of people walking down deserted highways as one of the social media-driven trends to be retired.

Not only is it dangerous, he says – it makes for a “very middle-of-the-road picture”.