Monday, July 13, 2009

The world’s worst tourism slogans

Titanic Awards is a new website dedicated to horror stories of bad tourism. Many travel writers nominate the worst local delicacy, worst toilet, worst attraction, worst flight etc. Sample entry, from a former travel editor of the San Francisco Chronicle:
Worst Pizza: Canned spaghetti on toast, New Zealand, 1982.
And Spud Hilton’s Worst Beach:
The Hilton resort beach in Fujairah, United Arab Emirates; tanker ships going through the Strait of Hormuz spill so much crude that the beach showers are equipped with industrial cleaner and pot scrubbers to get the tar balls off your feet.
There are loads of videos, too, presenting the evidence for the prosecution. Contributors include authors Tim Cahill and Rory McLean as well as the publishers of Lonely Planet and Rough Guides.

Anyway, they’re looking for nominees for the World’s Worst Tourism Slogans. So far they have:
Hilton: “Travel should take you places.” (Yes, it should. I think we can all agree on that totally meaningless statement. Would be nicer to say “take you someplace unique” but if you stay in a Hilton that wouldn’t quite work since the rooms look virtually identical no matter which country you go to.)

Fargo, North Dakota’s “Always Warm!” (No, everyone knows it’s warm in the summer and you freeze your ass off the rest of the year.)

British Colombia’s “The Best Place on Earth.” Why not just come right out and tells us how fucking great B.C. really is.

“Andalucia. There’s only one.” If you can’t think of anything else to say about a place, this should work.

Annapolis, Maryland’s “Come Sail Away” — inviting visitors to come… and leave, preferably by boat.

“Wales. The Big Country” No, Canada is a big country. So is China. And India, Brazil, Australia. If you’re going to start making shit up, why not say Wales is a tropical island with white sandy beaches and attractive, well-tanned natives who serve free beer around the clock.
But here in New Zealand we can do much, much worse than that. Dunedin’s “It’s all right here” must be the most dispiriting and defensive slogan ever. It’s not alone – an amusing academic paper by Dr Steven Pike of Queensland University of Technology discusses and categorises our “Destination Positioning Slogans” used between 1998 and 2003. Rotorua’s “Feel the spirit” is meaningless, as are Taranaki’s “Real people – special place” and Nelson’s “Live the day”. Of Canterbury’s “Fresh each day”, Pike mildly observes that it “offers an attribute that any region could claim”. His conclusion?
The relatively short term use of a number of the slogans may indicate that many may not have been regarded as effective.

1 comment:

Robert Reid said...

Like the list. I took my own shot at this a month ago too... Hard to stomach 'Happy Happens!' for San Diego.