InterContinental Launches ICons To Do As The Locals Do

InterContinental Launches ICons To Do As The Locals Do

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has today launched InterContinental ICons, inviting a global conversation to help travellers uncover the true essence of some of the world’s most exhilarating cities.

The brand’s independent global study reveals over 70 per cent of travellers say they feel obliged to only see the most popular tourist sites, despite over 80 per cent expressing the desire to see more of what the city has to offer ‘as the locals do’.

This means many travellers are taking the same routes and seeing the same things, resulting in a “sea of sameness” on social media. Social media analysis revealed the Eiffel Tower in Paris as the world’s most posted tourist site on Instagram, representing 10 per cent of all posts worldwide. While Sydney’s Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House topped the list of heavily posted Australian sites, with 65 per cent of Australian travellers feeling the destinations are overexposed. Buckingham Palace soared to the top as the most-tagged site in London (21 per cent) and Central Park the most-tagged in New York City (20 per cent), pointing to the fact that tourists may just be skimming the surface by visiting the “tick-box” sites.


Only 39 per cent of Sydneysiders feel tourists actually see and experience what Sydney truly has to offer. The study reveals Sydneysiders have unique ways of defining these genuinely local experiences – focussed more on the sounds, sights and tastes of Sydney including where to discover the melting pot of cuisines across Sydney’s food scene, or the unmissable smells reminiscent of a Sunday afternoon barbeque at Bronte Beach.

An online vote launching today asks locals and travellers across the world to vote for the most symbolic sights, sounds, tastes, smells and feelings in these cities, to ensure travellers connect with the city more deeply when they visit.

Some of the multi-sensorial experiences identified by luxury travellers around the world include:

  • Paris – The scent of oven-fresh bread on the boulangeries of Oberkampf, Paris
  • London – The warmth from a roaring fire in an old London pub on a chilly day
  • New York – Smell of roasting chestnuts from a vendor cart on Broadway
  • Shanghai – The warm aroma of Xiaolongbao at the Temple of the City Gods
  • Dubai – Sound of water lapping an abra (traditional wooden boat) as it glides along Dubai Creek
  • Sydney – The feel of the cool breeze on your face on the Manly to Circular Quay ferry
  • Mexico City – The sounds of Mariachi music in Garibaldi plaza

The polls closes on December 31, 2019 and a global panel of judges, featuring Australian artist and collector Dina Broadhurst and acclaimed National Geographic Photographer Charlie Hamilton James will lend their expertise to curating the top five InterContinental ICons in each city, with a final reveal and celebration in early 2020.

Sydney local and artist Dina Broadhurst has a unique way of discovering a city’s culture.

“My art is about finding the untamed natural beauty inside, versus the staged, and edited versions presented to others,” she said.

“When I travel and explore I’m constantly trying to dig deeper into a city, and not just experience the surface by ticking off destinations or sites. I always find the memories of a place, the sights, the smells and the sounds, are stronger in underrated locations.”

IHG Luxury Portfolio SVP global marketing Jane Mackie commented: “As a pioneer in luxury travel, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has always been the gateway to fascinating places and local cultural wisdom, so we understand that travellers are craving a deeper connection to the places they visit. With our latest campaign, InterContinental ICons, we’ve set out to discover and celebrate authentic places and moments that might be overlooked by visitors but are truly part of what makes a city special.

“Whether it’s the feel of salt air while riding New York’s Hudson River ferry, the melodious bells of the clock tower on the Bund in Shanghai, or the feel of cobblestones underfoot on old Parisian streets, these ICons might include under-the-radar experiences, or well-known tourist hotspots viewed in new and unexpected ways. We want to reignite a sense of fascination for these much-visited cities and encourage discussion around what makes them truly iconic.”


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