InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has launched a new campaign, InterContinental ICons, to help its guests venture beyond the typical tourist destinations by asking locals to highlight must-have experiences in their cities.

Wading through a sea of sameness

The brand’s independent study, carried out in Paris, London, New York, Shanghai, Dubai, Sydney and Mexico City, revealed travellers often feel they only scratch the surface of a city. More than three-quarters (77 per cent) say they feel obliged to see the most popular tourist sites, despite 75 per cent expressing a desire to see more of what the city has to offer and to explore like a well-informed local.

Additional analysis of Instagram posts revealed that the Eiffel Tower in Paris is the most posted tourist site, representing 10 per cent of all posts worldwide. Buckingham Palace is the most-tagged site in London (21 per cent) and Central Park is the most-tagged in New York City (20 per cent), highlighting that tourists are often focused on visiting the same “must-see” sites.

These findings were confirmed by locals in each of the seven cities, with more than half (59 per cent) feeling that tourists miss out on the best their city has to offer.

Discovering the true city

InterContinental’s new campaign aims to inspire by rediscovering what makes each city truly fascinating. An online vote, launching today, asks the public to select the most symbolic sights, sounds, tastes, smells and feelings in these cities, that will connect travellers 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 11e

• 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 full list of nominated ICons in Dubai include:

• Sounds of water whooshing at the Dubai fountains

• Sound of water lapping an abra as it glides along Dubai Creek

• The sensual smells of Arabia as you travel along the Perfume Souk on Sikkat Al Khail Road

• Drinking Karak Chai on Jumeirah Beach Road

• The echo of the evening call to prayer at Jumeirah Mosque as the sun sets on the horizon

• The feel of sun on your shoulders as you stroll along Kite Beach

• Emirati spices down the Spice Souk in Deira

• The feel of the waves as you sail down from old town to new town

• Arabic Qahwa coffee made with green coffee beans and cardamom, traditionally served in a dallah coffee pot

• The smell of burning bukhoor incense wafting through a Ramadan tent

• Escaping from the city in order to see the stars from a desert location

• A bowl of Harees – a staple Emirati dish made with cracked wheat and meat

• The feel of sand and dust on your fingertips

• Sweet scent of shisha that wafts through the streets of old Dubai

• The silhouette of the skyline from a desert campfire

Ginger Taggart, vice president, Global Marketing, IHG Luxury Portfolio, 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.”

InterContinental Icons Overview

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has pioneered luxury travel for more than 70 years and now has 208 hotels in 66 countries worldwide. With this heritage and insight, the brand understands that modern luxury travellers are looking for a deeper connection with the iconic places they travel to.

Through social media analysis, the insights of key opinion leaders and independent research, InterContinental has established a long-list of multi-sensory experiences that are representative of each city. Beginning today, InterContinental invites the public to select the experiences they truly feel demonstrate the city or cities they know best at and engage in a conversation across social media using the hashtag #intercontinentalicons

Voting closes on December 31. A global panel of judges, featuring acclaimed National Geographic Photographer Charlie Hamilton James, Haifa Beseisso and well-travelled members of the InterContinental Ambassador loyalty programme will lend their expertise to curating the top five InterContinental ICons in each city, with the final reveal and celebration in early 2020. - TradeArabia News Service

Copyright 2019 Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (

Disclaimer: The content of this article is syndicated or provided to this website from an external third party provider. We are not responsible for, and do not control, such external websites, entities, applications or media publishers. The body of the text is provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis and has not been edited in any way. Neither we nor our affiliates guarantee the accuracy of or endorse the views or opinions expressed in this article. Read our full disclaimer policy here.