There are several viral "challenges" going around social media platforms that urge travellers and travel lovers to post pictures of their favourite destinations, no matter where it is in the world.
On Twitter, the challenge is to post a picture without a caption, description or location tag – the picture should also not be a selfie or wefie. The general post reads: "I am challenging everyone to post a photo you've taken from a place you've been. The only thing is that you NOT appear in it. Just a pic, no description. Let's flood profiles with landscapes to ease this isolation. Copy this, post a photo & let's travel virtually around the world." (A similar challenge is circulating on Facebook, but on that platform folks who post the pictures are encouraged to "tag" a few friends to keep the thread going.)
Since there is no hashtag tied to the challenge, it is a little difficult to see all the pictures in a single thread but you do get a few posts of beautiful travel pictures among the thousands of Covid-19 reports on your timeline every now and then.
The hashtag #whenwetravelagain, initiated by Irish Independent travel editor Pol O Conghaile is also on Twitter, but it has yet to catch on in Malaysia. In fact, #travellater, a hashtag used by numerous official tourism boards and travel agencies around the world – including Tourism Malaysia and Sabah Tourism Board – seems to be the one to follow. This hashtag is widely used both on Twitter and Instagram.
We scoured through Tourism Malaysia's social media pages (Instagram: @malaysia.truly.asia and Twitter: @tourismmalaysia) and found so many beautiful posts of not just destinations around the country, but of local delicacies, animals, people and, flora and fauna too. There are also several posters promoting #stayathome and #dudukrumah initiatives, and other posts related to Covid-19. Meanwhile, on their blog (https://blog.tourism.gov.my/), you can find short stories on lesser-known tourist spots – places we can hopefully visit one day when travel becomes possible again.
The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), meanwhile, uses #traveltomorrow. Travel Tomorrow is actually a global campaign launched by UNWTO recently as a way to help the tourism industry survive not just during the Covid-19 crisis, but beyond that too. "Tourism and tourists have a responsibility: To save lives TODAY. And to transform lives TOMORROW. The #TravelTomorrow campaign illustrates the sector's solidarity in the face of crisis, and our determination to grow back better and stronger," reads its post on its official social media pages (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram).
According to the latest estimates released by UNWTO, international tourist arrivals are expected to decline between 20% and 30% this year, which translates to a loss of between US$30bil (RM126bil) and US$50bil (RM210bil) in international tourist spending. Needless to say, it's a very big blow to the industry worldwide.
To help keep travel dreams alive, StarLifestyle would also like to we encourage our readers to share beautiful or interesting pictures on your own social media pages. Do tag us if you wish (@StarLifestyleMY on Instagram and Twitter) and include the hashtag #MYstayhome.
Alternatively, you can also email us photo essays. Send us at least eight Hi-Res pictures taken during a holiday. Include detailed captions for each item. There is no payment for submissions, and we reserve the right to edit all submissions. E-mail email@example.com with the subject "Readers Share".
To start the initiative, here are some of our own #travellater and #traveltomorrow pictures.