Jackson Hole, Tag Responsibly 

Travel board raises awareness of nature conservation using Instagram’s location feature. From Contagious I/O.

Jackson Hole in Wyoming is home to numerous ski resorts, national parks and areas with stunning mountain views, flora and fauna. Needless to say, the valley is very Instagram-worthy. However, when visitors tag the exact spot of their holiday photos, it brings an excess of foot traffic that harms the environment.

To combat the issue while still letting people share their photos, The Jackson Hole Travel & Tourism Board is encouraging people to use the Instagram geotag ‘Tag Responsibly. Keep Jackson Hole Wild’ instead of tagging their exact whereabouts. The organisation hopes this will help preserve the area for generations to come.

The Tag Responsibly campaign, created by Colle McVoy in Minneapolis, is being promoted through sponsored posts on Instagram and through print, with the creative calling for people to ‘keep the spots ‘grammable’. The activation is part of a bigger sustainability push by the tourism board.

Contagious Insight 

Insta-destruction / While some travel destinations dream of social media fame and endless tourist traffic, for national parks and below-the-radar spots a sudden influx of people can be damaging. And recently these spikes of sudden travel desirability can be attributed to social media exposure.

In a piece in The Outline, travel photographer Brent Knepper describes how Horseshoe Bend, a small bend on the Colorado Rivera wooden bridge in Washington, last year got four times as many visitors as five years ago as a result of the popularity of its geotag. He also explains how Conundrum Hot Springs, another ‘grammable destination was forced to shut down because of an abundance of human waste from visitors. And earlier this year a sunflower farm in Canada had to ban visitors after too many of them ruined the delicate flowers in their quest for the perfect selfie.

The Jackson Hole Travel & Tourism board is tackling this issue in a way that doesn’t prohibit people from visiting the area or from sharing their experiences online. It simply helps visitors act more responsibly with very little effort.

‘With two national parks at our doorstep and acres of wild spaces, we see this problem firsthand every day,’ Kate Sollitt, Jackson Hole Travel & Tourism Board executive director, said in an official statement. ‘We want to share the beauty of Jackson Hole and inspire more people to experience it, but we also want them to join in our efforts to preserve it.’

Campaign for change / The campaign turns something people already do – tagging their location in pictures – into a powerful awareness driver that both showcases the natural beauty of the destination and encourages people to protect it. Posting a photo tagged with 'Tag Responsibly. Keep Jackson Hole Wild', spreads the message to other social media users. It’s also something that visitors to the location would likely feel is worthwhile doing. By tagging their photos with the campaign tag rather than a more specific location, tourists can not only protect the local area but align themselves with a positive conservation message and also ensure that the photo they take is unique. For more on how brands can weaponise audiences to do their communication on their behalf, read out trend on the topic.

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