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Travel and Tourism in a New Age (by Vanessa Vaca)

About seven years ago when I was a sophomore in high school, I went on a trip to China with my school's marching band. This trip was a way to symbolize the friendship and unity between our school and our sister school located in Jiangmen, China. We were there to perform, and they were expected to teach us about their daily lives and culture. What I remember the most is being completely immersed in my surroundings, fully focused and entranced by the sights, sounds, smells, and the conversations I was having. 


Now, in 2016, it becomes crazy to see how much things could have changed in just a few years. Thanks to a new little device known as a “smartphone” that has exploded in popularity in recent years, sharing the best picture people on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and other social media website has now become the most important aspect of a trip for most travelers. 

Rather than allowing themselves to be completely involved in their new surroundings, it may seem that most people, at least those within the 18-24 year old age range, would prefer to spend their time behind the lens in order to capture that one perfect shot that will "wow" their friends on social media sites. Because their attention is highly focused photo shooting, they would find it difficult to fully embrace the environment with the five senses, which will help them grasp the culture and the scenery right in front of their eyes. With the obsession to show a person's perfect and exciting life on social media sites, the real purpose of travel gets lost sometimes.

            Not all of the faults lie with the person though, smartphone developers have really paved the way for how easy it can be to take and share pictures. Today's smartphones can take high quality pictures as some professional cameras do, but with a lot less skill. 

Another influencer that has greatly changed the way people experience travel is the explosion of new social media sites. Often, people seem to care more about getting "Likes" on the online communities than the people whom they actually know. Then, it sort of becomes a "job" for travelers to go out and get that one epic picture, hoping that maybe one day they will be “Instafamous” as many might have forgotten the real meaning of travel --- to relax and hopefully to find a place for self-discovery.

All these changes in technology and the internet have greatly changed travel and tourism in just a short time. It is scary to imagine what else could have possibly changed given a little more time. Will these changes continue to have a negative impact on a person’s ability to experience a bigger world than what is shown on a four inch screen? What impacts does excess usage of smartphones have on travel and tourism?

About the Author

Vanessa Vaca is a junior at Cal Poly Pomona. She will be graduating in fall of 2017 with a B.S. degree in Hospitality Management. After graduation she hopes to work in the hotel industry, in the areas of catering and event management. She wants to travel around the world as a way to better understand different cultures. Vanessa enjoys reading and baking. 

References:

The picture was downloaded from Langua Travel.

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