What is a destination dupe? Bengaluru just ranked 6th on an Instagram list, btw
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What is a destination dupe? Bengaluru just ranked 6th on an Instagram list, btw

According to a recent study, Bengaluru has been named the 6th most photogenic destination dupe, with 18.8 million Instagram posts.

Ever since the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a significant rise in people wanting to travel. In fact, the global tourism market is expected to reach a whopping 16.9 trillion (yes, trillion) USD by 2030.

Indians are also not far behind in their urge to travel, with our market size projected to grow to $131.7 billion by 2030.

However, not everyone has access to travel to high-end places, nor do they want to encounter huge crowds of tourists wherever they go, and let them photobomb every photo (we see you, Santorini).

To solve this issue, we have a new trend on the rise this year: destination dupes.

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What is a destination dupe? Bengaluru just ranked 6th on an Instagram list, btw

Niyati Saxena, founder of Migrant Musings & Co, a group travel company from Noida, says that even though the concept of travelling to a much cheaper place with the same aesthetic is not new, now 'we have a name for it'.

She says, "Two places may have very similar terrain, landscape and even overall vibe and social setups. When one place resembles another (generally more popular) place in such a manner, it is referred to as a destination dupe."

Ashish Ahuja, founder and CEO of Dashmesh Voyage Private Limited, further adds that another feature of these destination dupes is that one might have similar attractions or scenery but isn't as 'crowded or expensive'.

“People choose these spots because they get a similar experience without the usual downsides of busy tourist areas. So, it's like finding a great alternative that's just as good but without all the fuss,” says Ahuja.

According to a new survey, one such dupe is Bengaluru - of the Silicon Valley - on social media.

Before delving further into this trend, here’s a little more about the survey:

  • Travel experts at 1st Move International, a moving company, analysed Instagram data to reveal the most picturesque holiday destination dupes.

  • They have named Bengaluru as the 6th most photogenic destination dupe (similar in photos) of the famous Silicon Valley (a region in California) - with 18.8 million Instagram posts.

  • "Considered the next Silicon Valley, Bengaluru is rising in popularity with over 18.8 million posts presenting its appeal. Renowned for its beauty, the city offers an array of picturesque spots for Instagram-worthy moments," the study reads.

  • Pranav Dangi, founder & CEO, of The Hosteller, a hostel chain, agrees with the study and says, Bengaluru's recognition as a top destination dupe for Silicon Valley isn’t surprising.

  • He describes Bengaluru as the epicentre of India’s tech industry and further adds that Bengaluru is bursting with innovation and startup culture, much like ‘Silicon Valley’.

  • “Moreover, Bengaluru offers a vibrant urban experience, blending modernity with rich cultural heritage, which attracts both domestic and international tech enthusiasts and professionals,” Dangi adds.

  • And if you’re wondering who secured the first position, then it’s none other than Azerbaijan’s Baku (a destination dupe for Dubai) with more than 34.8 million Instagram posts.

  • Furthermore, the second position is secured by Medell­n, Colombia, as the dupe of Chiang Mai, Thailand.

  • Have a look at the list:

Today, there is no doubt that social media influences our travel plans. From making Azerbaijan a hit (thanks to Instagram) to adding the Northern Lights to almost everyone’s bucket list, social media not only has the potential to change your itinerary, but can also impact your decision about liking a destination.

Apart from making destinations famous, social media also helps highlight activities, food and more.

"So, a person sitting at home now has access to all sorts of information which then urges them to step out of their homes," says Niyati Saxena.

Another reason, according to experts, is the ‘realness’ of these lesser-known destinations portrayed on social media, which has also made this destination dupe trend a hit.

Dangi says that platforms like Instagram and Facebook allow travellers to share their experiences in real-time, showcasing the “allure of lesser-known locales that rival their more famous counterparts”.

Indians are known to be “jugaadus (make-shifters)”, and destination dupes are nothing more than a form of make-shift travel to a place which is much cheaper and less crowded.

Jokes aside, experts think there are various reasons why Indians travel to places that are dupes of much more famous places.

Like Dangi says, Indians are increasingly opting for destination dupes for: cost efficiency, easier access, and a growing desire for quick getaways due to busy lifestyles.

He also says there's a significant rise in awareness of sustainable travel and the benefits of exploring within one’s own country to support local economies.

Other experts also believe that there has been a significant increase in the 'want' to travel, which is causing Indians to travel more often than ever, leading them to go for cheaper alternatives with the same ‘vibe’.

Say, instead of travelling once a year to a very expensive place, Indians travel twice or thrice to affordable places.

We asked travel experts about some of their favourite destination dupes in India, and here’s what they said:

Saxena called Kashmir a destination dupe for Switzerland, Pondicherry a destination dupe for Europe with its colourful streets; and she says, Goa can be a dupe for Bali or even Thailand.

Dangi on the other hand, called Kasol, a dupe for the Swiss Alps; Coorg, the Scotland of India, a dupe for the Scottish countryside; and Jodhpur for the architectural and cultural magnificence reminiscent of Moroccan cities.

Destination dupes is a trend that is here to stay, and it will eventually lead to more people travelling, as they are ditching the hyped, much more famous places for lesser-known, underrated gems.

Source: India Today

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