Luxury travellers are increasingly wanting to experience cities like a well-informed local, but the majority of locals feel visitors are missing out on the true spirit of a place

4 March, 2020

Whether travelling for business or leisure, it is always good to get a real insight into a city that you are visiting. Increasingly, that is going beyond the popular sights to enjoy the hidden experiences that are on offer.

A recent study by InterContinental Hotels & Resorts found that three quarters (75%) of luxury travellers want to experience cities like a well-informed local, but the majority of locals (59%) felt visitors were missing out on the true spirit of a place.

Through an independent study, carried out in Dubai, Mexico City, London, New York, Paris, Shanghai and Sydney, it found that travellers often feel that they only scratch the surface of a city, with more than 70% feeling obliged to only see the most popular tourist sites, despite 80% expressing the desire to experience more of what the city has to offer.

Analysis of social media highlights the push to visit city attractions: the Eiffel Tower in Paris is the most over-exposed tourist site in the world, representing 10% of all posts worldwide, with Buckingham Palace the most-tagged site in London (21%) and Central Park the most-tagged in New York City (20%).

These findings have conceived a new campaign from the hotel group: InterContinental Icons 2020. From the smell of fresh bagels at a West Village shop in New York and the unique flavours of Karak Chai in Jumeirah Beach in Dubai, to enjoying the sight of contrasting old and new architecture in London, these comprise some of the most iconic sights, sounds, tastes, smells and sensations that travellers should experience in some of the world's biggest cities.

The InterContinental ICons experiences were determined through an online public vote and then ranked by a panel of worldly influencers and leading travel experts as the best additions to conventional tourist destinations, and of course can be facilitated by a stay at a InterContinental Hotels and Resorts property.

They range significantly from the smell of oven-fresh bread from the boulangeries of Oberkampf in Paris, or the smoky flavour of tacos al pastor in Mexico City, to the cool breeze on your face as you ride the Manly to Circular Quay ferry in Sydney or the sound of old songs played on a vinyl record player in Shanghai.

If you have a business trip or holiday planned in New York, Mexico City, Paris, London, Dubai, Sydney or Shanghai, here are the experiences that you shouldn't miss…