I should have been a travel writer. What was I thinking? Why incur the wrath of government officials through news reporting when there are who agencies out there spending millions of dollars treating travel journalists to the good life?
Case in point: the Maui Visitors and Convention Bureau (MVCB) sent out a press release today outlining how the organization will “garner favorable travel press coverage for the Islands of Maui Nui.” They call this process “implementing press trips,” but to regular folks (and the county taxpayers who subsidize groups like MVCB to the tune of a few million bucks per year) it’s simply paying writers to come to Maui and stay in wonderful resorts and then go back home and write wonderful stories about wonderful Maui so wonderful regular folks with wonderfully fat bank accounts will take wonderful trips to Maui and the surrounding islands, where their empty their wonderful wallets on snorkel trips, cheeseburgers and dolphin-shaped wood carvings.
The party starts, well, today, by shipping a few writers over to Molokai for six days. “Itineraries will highlight Moloka`i’s cherished rural and ‘unrushed’ lifestyle with an emphasis on the island’s cultural and historical offerings,” said Keli`i Brown, the MVCB’s Director of Public Relations, in the press release. Some of those “offerings” include a hike through Halawa Valley, a Hawaiian protocol ceremony, a thriving taro patch, and, “of course, the ‘must do’ late evening ‘bread run’ to Kanemitsu Bakery is sure to be a memorable part of the week.”
It’s enough to hate any self-respecting journalist hate quotation marks. But I digress:
In mid-September, the MVCB will fly their own people and some “representatives from various resort areas on Maui” to California to “target journalists and social media travel influencers.”
Mmm… social media travel influencers. Only schmucks call them bloggers. Those with the big bucks call them “social media travel influencers.”
And they’re coming to Maui in October on the MVCB’s dime. They’ll spend three lovely nights at a Wailea resort before fanning “out to resort areas across Maui Nui for the remainder of their stay.”
See, social media travel influencers are the future. All hail our Social Media Travel Influencer Overlords!
“As the world changes, so must we,” MVCB Executive Director Terryl Vencl said in the release. “By targeting social media travel influencers, we continue to explore new avenues to communicate with potential travelers utilizing emerging technology.”
PHOTO: tata_aka_T/Wikimedia Commons