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10.01.2019

Digital Detox holidays trend on the rise

Photo: Smartphone © Dr. Patrick Patridge

Digital detox is an attempt to untether people from obsessively checking their mobile phones. It is an issue that Ayana Resort on Bali, for example, is addressing by limiting the use of smartphones and mobile devices by their River Pool in a bid to encourage people to absorb their surroundings rather than staring at a screen. Guests should enjoy a swim in the sea, read a book, catch up on writing postcards or just simply relax in the moment. This is an attempt to forcibly unleash people from the global addiction of checking news, compulsively taking photos, updating social media and replying to e-mails when on holiday.

The phenomenon of being unable to switch off, or be parted from your mobile phone, has been given a name: nomophobia, sometimes described as the “21st century disease”. Social media use has been linked to depression, particularly among young people and so-called “Millennials”.

A recent survey of American holiday-makers by OnePoll found that more than 20 % said they checked their smartphones once per hour during their most recent holiday, while about 14 % said they checked it twice per hour. Nearly 8 % said they checked it more than 20 times per hour. In a Deloitte survey in Britain in 2017, 38 % of adults said they thought they were using their smartphones far too much.

Vienna’s tourist board recently unveiled a new campaign “Unhashtag Vienna”, encouraging visitors to get off social media. The provocative tagline reads: “See Vienna. Not #Vienna.” The Vienna tourist board wants visitors to enjoy the moment and the city behind the pictures – instead of documenting it on social media. The start of the campaign was marked by a “See Klimt. Not #Klimt.” event where Klimt’s famous Kiss in the Belvedere Palace was swapped with a replica and covered with a red hashtag, with visitors’ reactions captured on film.

As a result of all this recent publicity, there has been a surge of interest in so-called digital detox holidays, as people look for ways to take a break from their phones, with travel companies and hotels cashing in on people’s inability to switch off their devices unless forced. This growing trend for switching off and embracing digital detox relaxation and holiday awareness enhancement could be ideally and quite easily adopted and marketed by the coach tourism sector, in particular as part of the RDA Group Travel Expos 2019 theme “Living Culture”.

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