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InterContinental Launches ICons, Inviting Travelers to Dive Deep into the Destination

Survey reveals what travelers truly want to experience in the city they are visiting

InterContinental Hotels & Resorts launched InterContinental ICons this week as a way to give travelers a fresh look at some of the world’s most exhilarating cities and inviting the public to take part in a global conversation on what these places truly iconic.

The brand’s independent study, carried out in Paris, London, New York, Shanghai, Dubai, Sydney and Mexico City, revealed travelers often feel they only scratch the surface of a city. More than three-quarters (77 percent) say they feel obliged to see the most popular tourist sites, despite 75 percent expressing a desire to see more of what the city has to offer and to explore like a well-informed local.

Additional analyses of Instagram posts revealed that the Eiffel Tower in Paris is the most posted tourist site, representing 10 percent of all posts worldwide. Buckingham Palace is the most-tagged site in London (21 percent) and Central Park is the most-tagged in New York City (20 percent), highlighting that tourists are often focused on visiting the same “must-see” sites. These findings were confirmed by locals in each of the seven cities, with more than half (59 percent) feeling that tourists miss out on the best their city has to offer.

“With our latest campaign, InterContinental ICons, we’ve set out to discover authentic places and moments that might be overlooked by visitors but are truly part of what makes a city special. We want to reignite a sense of fascination for these much-visited cities and encourage discussion around what makes them truly iconic,” says Ginger Taggart, Vice President, Global Marketing, IHG Luxury Portfolio.

Some of the multi-sensorial experiences identified by luxury travelers around the world:

• Paris – The scent of oven-fresh bread on the boulangeries of Oberkampf, Paris 11e

• London – The warmth from a roaring fire in an old London pub on a chilly day

• New York – Smell of roasting chestnuts from a vendor cart on Broadway

• Shanghai – The warm aroma of Xiaolongbao at the Temple of the City Gods

• Dubai – Sound of water lapping against an abra as this traditional wooden boat glides along Dubai Creek

• Sydney – The feel of the cool breeze on your face on the Manly to Circular Quay ferry

• Mexico City – The sounds of Mariachi music in Garibaldi plaza

The survey was fielded to 7,000+ participants between  Nov. 6 and Nov. 19 in various global cities.