What is photographic tourism?
The history of tourism is older than that of photography, but with the passage of time it has been realized that one cannot go well without the accompaniment of the other. A tour to a breathtaking destination is a rewarding experience as long as the tourist is present in the spot. As he leaves for his journey back home, the wonderful moments gradually fade from memory with time. A trip to a new destination replaces the old venture, which slips into oblivion eventually. It is exactly here where the necessity of keeping a permanent record of the trip is felt. Prior to the invention of camera and photo shooting devices, the wonderful landscapes and beauty of the sites of travel were recorded in the tourist canvas, sketchbooks and diaries. Alien landscapes, people and their culture captured through excellent strokes of brush and paint were presented through exhibitions for the world to see.
Thomas Cook, the pioneer of modern tourism, felt it necessary that tourism and photography must be combined to bring out the best in both. Today photography without tourism cannot be simply thought of. Photography helps tourism by making the distant lands known to the world at large. There are a number of effective media through which this is achieved. One can organize his photo shots taken of an amazing land in his photo album for viewing by friends and relatives. He can even go a step further to arrange a photography exhibition for the world to see and appreciate and ultimately make up a mind to visit the enchanting destination displayed. Besides, there are other media like travel magazines, newsprints, bill boards, internet and other powerful exposures through which the world comes to learn about the existence of a wonderful land and its colorful cultural practices.
The flow of benefit comes from the other end as well and is a justification for all photographic activities. The enchantment delivered to the eyes of a viewer exposed to the magic of an awesome scenery photographed ends through appreciation of the skill and artistic sense of the person behind the camera. The realization of the beauty of nature frozen in celluloid could not have been enjoyed if the photography never existed.
The pristine charm of the Alpine forests, the majestic beauty of the Himalayas and the Andes, the breath taking landscape of the Scottish Highlands, the wild and raw ruggedness of the African savannas and Masaimara ,the thrills delivered by the Kaziranga wild life sanctuary, and awe inspiring structures and architectural feats across the globe and their enormous tourist drawing potential would have remained unknown to the tourists at every corner of the world had their charm not been captured through a photographer’s lens.
Photographic tourism is an obvious answer to the future of tourism as such. It is a wonderful media to exhibit the rationale behind a venture. The prospective tourist decides on whether to visit a place by surveying and browsing over you tube snippets or rummaging through pages of tour brochures. Not only the charisma and beauty of the destination are important, the quality of accommodation where the tourist is going to stay is as important. Photography has made it possible exhibiting the interiors of a hotel with all its glamour and classiness ranging from display of cuisine to arrangement for sightseeing. A touch of commercialization exists in all these advertising and marketing exercises, but it is an essential feature helping and guiding a tourist on his way to a tour destination.
Photographic tourism is neither about tourism nor about photography alone. They are not isolated concepts. They act in a mix to have a great constructive impact upon the tourist who plays a key role in shaping the future of both photography and tourism.