Perhaps no place is as romanticized as Thailand’s exotic stretches of coast and islands. The country’s many sugar-sand beaches, dramatic limestone cliffs and enticing emerald-clear waters create some of the most eye-catching scenery on Earth. In today’s photo, brought to us by Flickr user Geir Ertzgaard, we have further visual evidence taken at sunset near Krabi on Thailand’s western Andaman Coast. The striking Thai long-tail boat silhouetted in the foreground is complemented by the dazzling pinks and purples of the receding light.
There’s been plenty of discussion about author Chris Anderson’s Long Tail theory since it was first proposed in 2004. The theory, which suggests selling niche products can be just as profitable for businesses as the huge blockbusters, has been attracting plenty of attention both from its supporters and detractors. Recently Anderson laid out the case on his blog for how the Long Tail applies to travel.
According to the Long Tail, the most popular tourist destinations have always been places like Paris or Tokyo because they were the cities airlines could fly to most efficiently and that had the greatest demand from visitors. But in the last ten years, the growth of low cost carriers and word of mouth recommendation websites like Tripadvisor has changed that model. We’re no longer forced to take what our travel agent says at face value. Users online tell us what’s worth seeing and the flights have gotten so cheap we’re willing to be more risky about where to go. Now instead of Paris or Tokyo, for instance, you’re just as likely to hear your friend went to visit Provence or Osaka.
According to Long Tail creator Chris Anderson, the numbers back this up. He cites data from the UK between 1998-2008, when visitors to the “Top 50” travel destinations dropped 10% from 36% to 26%, while visitors to “everywhere else” increased by the same amount. It does take a leap of logic to arrive at Anderson’s conclusion – there’s nothing here to account for the effects of the economy on travel, and without seeing the Top 50 destinations, it’s hard to say what other factors are at play. Still, the implication of the “Travel Long Tail” is striking. More of us seem to be throwing the advice of travel “experts” out the window and setting off on our own, and that’s a tremendously exciting trend.