OK, I know you’re all probably sick of talking about Pokémon Go, but hear me out. This ridiculously addictive game that has brought millennials back to their childhoods is doing local tourism a serious favour. And not just LOCAL tourism! Pokémon Go is everywhere.
Thanks to Pokémon Go local businesses are raking in the cash. And it’s not just about the money – people are getting out there and exploring their local neighbourhoods. Local businesses are gaining new customers and people are opening their eyes to the places around them that they never would have noticed before. My sister admitted that she recently discovered a hand-carved woodpecker on the side of a local building, amongst other sites, while she was out hunting Jigglypuff.
Some people even credit Pokémon Go with incredible weight loss due to all the walking and exploring involved in the game. I know when my boyfriend and I were in Canada he was insistent that we get out and walk around the local area so that he could go Pokémon catching. No matter your opinion on the record-breaking app it cannot be denied that Pokémon Go is getting people out there.
Of course, there are some negative stories floating around the internet. For example, the man that crashed his car while playing Pokémon Go. Or the girl that found a dead body in the river while looking for Pokémon. But, in fairness, finding a dead body is kind of good thing. Maybe he would have never been found if it wasn’t for Pokémon Go? And, well, you shouldn’t be on your phone anyway when you’re driving. So let’s not focus on the “negatives”.
Essentially, Pokémon Go is insanely popular. It has twice as many downloads as Tinder and more daily users than Twitter. It’s a technological phenomenon. Although it is free to play, businesses are paying around $1.50 per hour to place lures (something like Pokémon catnip) in/around their properties. This encourages Pokémon Go users to spend time around the area (potentially making purchases) and enables local business owners to start conversations. Hence Pokémon Go events, walks and parties were born.
Pokémon Go Events Around the World
Dublin, Ireland: August 13th, St.Stephen’s Green, 1pm – 6pm. This is a Pokémon Go Picnic in St.Stephen’s Green in the heart of Dublin city. Let’s hope the weather holds out for it! You can find more details here.
Bristol, England: August 3rd, Bristol Zoo, 6pm – 8pm. There will be “Lures” on every Poké Stop ( all 12 of them) . Entry is technically free but there is a suggested £3 charitable donation. This will be the second event held at Bristol Zoo in honour of Pokémon Go. The first was held on the 27th of July and was incredibly popular. The zoo had to refuse entry to hundreds of people, so make sure you get there early or reserve tickets in advance. If you attend, make sure that you respect the animals and stay on your side of the barriers etc. I wouldn’t want anyone getting mauled by a Growlith or anything like that.
London, England: August 6th, Trafalgar Square, 1pm-6pm . A Pokémon Go walk of epic proportions. They will be meeting at Trafalgar Square then head to Soho, Covent Garden and Oxford Circus. You can check out the Facebook event here. So far over 1,000 people have confirmed attendance.
There are, of course, plenty more events around the world. Try searching Facebook groups and events to find your nearest one.
Pokémon Go Travel
Tour companies around the world are starting to capitalise on Pokémon Go;
-A taxi company in Edinburgh, Scotland is offering a 20 minute tour for £15 which will allow tourists to catch up to 50 Pokémon.
-Iceland has also gotten in on the Pokémon action. Coach company Reykjavik Excursions has launched a 4 hour tour of the various Pokemon hotspots.
No doubt more will pop up around the world in the coming months. After all, the app was only released on the 6th of July. It’s still very early days!
So, really, does it matter how or why someone came to explore somewhere? The simple fact is that Pokémon Go is getting people out there and catching Pokémon is giving people an incentive to explore places that might, otherwise, have remained hidden. And if small businesses and charities can monetise that, then fair play.
Let’s Wrap it up
I expect that Pokémon Go is a bit of a phase and will eventually fizzle out. But as it stands, it has already done incredible things for local businesses and the tourism industry in a very short period of time. More people are venturing to unknown places and as long as they’re not being idiots and staring at their phones when they’re driving/crossing a road/standing on the edge of a cliff then that’s the kind of thing I like to see!!
In a time when the threat of terrorism is scaring people into not travelling, anything that encourages travel is fine by me.
So what about you? Do you play Pokémon Go? Have you discovered anywhere new because of it?