As citizens and lovers of twenty European destinations continue voting for the best tourist destination in Europe on January 29, 2016, TCN takes a closer look at the European Best Destinations project.
Lists, lists, lists. They are the travel blogger’s road less travelled to the holy grail of clicks and mass page views. If a destination is included in a list, it matters not to many whether or not the author has any authority, has done any research or if the list actually means anything. Inclusion on a list means a chance of promotion, a practice which leads to the production of yet more inane lists. An unbreakable cycle.
Like many, I was a little surprised to see Zagreb named among Europe’s best Christmas markets late last year, and I don’t think we had any idea what would happen next when Danni wrote the first article on the subject. Quite apart from the 12,000 Facebook likes that article generated, the resulting media storm and support from the Croatia National Tourist Board resulted in Zageb being voted the best European Christmas market 2016 with more than a third of the votes from 50 cities on the website European Best Destinations.
What a brilliant idea to get pageviews, was my first reaction. Choose 50 cities all over Europe, and give people the opportunity to vote for the title of Best of Europe. If it was possible to get interest as they did from the Croatian tourist board, how many clicks and unique visitors would that bring? Genius idea. And Advent in Zagreb became so much more high profile as a result, and it can now claim to have been voted Best European Christmas market.
And just as were recovering from Zagreb’s European Christmas market prominence, out came another nomination, this time for Zadar as one of the top 20 destinations in Europe in 2016. Once again, things started to go crazy, but surely it was a list too far. Just what was this website which was producing lists, seemingly at random? A look at their Twitter account seemed to show how successful they were – in this article are just a few retweets from some of the biggest tourist boards in Europe.
And a little research showed that far from being an opportunist website chasing clicks, this was actually an official website promoting tourism in Europe:
“European Best Destinations is a European organisation based in Brussels and developed to promote culture and tourism in Europe. In partnership with the participating tourism offices and the EDEN Network we promote a better understanding of the wealth, diversity and quality of European destinations.
“Speaking to an audience of e-citizens, European Best Destinations plays an important role in promoting Europe as the number one destination in the world. It has become the meeting place for tourism offices and world travellers, a main gateway to the discovery of Europe.
“Since 2009 EBD has been working with major tourism offices in Europe to reward and highlight the most visited destinations via its website and social networks (+2,5 millions of visitors and thousands of followers on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ Pinterest and 26,000,000 of media coverage).
“We are proud to announce that we have all the main European Tourism offices on board and our footprint covers over 355 European Destinations: from Aachen to Zagreb !
“The world’s travellers have access to the best photographs, videos, 360 degree tours, travel guides, top things to do and the main social networks for over 355 destinations.”
The list of 20 destinations is interesting – in addition to Zadar, Athens, Prague, Amsterdam, Kotor, Brussels, Paris, Novi Sad, Berlin, Plovdiv, Vienna, Edinburgh, Madrid, Rome, Barcelona, Nicosia, Azores, Nantes, London and Milan.
A nice mixture of some of Europe’s better known top destinations, and featuring some smaller and lesser known ones, giving them a chance to shine.
And it is working. At TCN, for example, although we are not fans of inane lists, we took the decision that if people were going to be searching for information about Zadar, we might as well give them some in-depth information. And 25 Things to Know about Zadar was born, an article which proved to be three times as popular as the nomination article.
Will it matter if Zadar is voted the best destination or not? Of course it will be a nice thing to boast, but the PR and promotion of Zadar just by being included has been excellent for the former Dalmatian capital.