Imagine if something as recreational as travelling can make people’s pockets hefty with money? Well, without many even realising it, travel vlogging has now become a trend that people are very interested in. Now, people do not only skim through Trivago or TripAdvisor when they want to select a destination. Rather, they choose to get an in-depth view of what they probably would have anticipated if YouTube or other streaming platforms did not exist. Luckily, they do and this surely makes people’s life much simpler.
So, what is travel vlogging? Travel vloggers are individuals who share their experiences in a video format, mostly on YouTube. Their motives for sharing content might be out of self-interest although in reality, they market the destinations they are in, drawing attention to new potential destinations for the viewer. Although, why would someone want to spend so much and yet give an external party the pleasure of watching his or her journey? Well, it is the same reason why social media has become such a giant when it comes to brand management - income. Initially, travel vloggers barely make any cash at all. However, once they bloom and have a set of audience that are glued to their contents, it can actually be a reliable source of income. Having said that, travel vlogging is relatively a new subculture created by the millennials. It is still settling around the world and people still have a lot more to know about this practice.
Nevertheless, Bangladesh is a part of this wave. The percentage is small and the room for exploration is a lot as well but it is slowly getting there. Some of the most prominent travel vloggers of the country are Nadir On The Go, Jannat - The Lunatic Traveller, Araf Intisar Dipto etc. Surprisingly, Nadir On The Go is the newbie among them and yet, he managed to create an impeccable hype regarding travel vlogging. Zerin Tasnim Ahsan, an undergraduate student at North South University (NSU) has the following remark about his content: “He is the most charming and virtually interactive travel vlogger I have ever seen. He is really making us and our country proud. His contents are very unique which set him apart from all the vloggers”.
On the other hand, Jannat - The Lunatic Traveler, the only female travel vlogger of the country had a very different perspective regarding travelling. When asked about travel vlogging being a lifestyle, she had the following to say: “Absolutely not. I just am very passionate about travelling. I started in 2016 and I have been loving it so far. I have started vlogging as well although travel vlogging will always be my main priority”. As a counter question, we had asked her whether she was approached by companies or brands for trip sponsorship. She said she was not sponsored, rather invited. She has been asked to visit resorts, radio stations, clothing stores etc. Hers is surely a success story as the government sponsored initiative ‘Beautiful Bangladesh’ also made a documentary on her.
PR packages and sponsorship proposals are one of the biggest revenue streams social media personnel have and is one of the most popular ways of brand management as well. To get a more explicit idea about how travel agencies think about travel vloggers and their impact, we got in contact with Shams E Tabrizzaman, Co-owner of Euro Aviation - a new agency that ensures safe travels for Bangladeshis domestically and internationally as well. Their company is ready to spend an amicable amount of 15,000 BDT to 20,000 BDT as they are in the first stage of their business.
The eternal truth is that travel vlogging in Bangladesh is still not that well established. For a fact, there are barely a handful of people who even consider travel vlogging as a full-time opportunity. It is mostly because of the lack of resources and brands that would help them be properly groomed. Nonetheless, just like most digital shifts, this too will have a lot of our citizens accepting it and embracing it. After all, who would not like to explore the world from the edge of their chairs?
Zeba Fareha Hossain is an undergraduate student at North South University.