Business is booming thanks to TikTok, but at what price for our natural wonders?

Government bodies like Destination NSW have also embraced the latest social media craze. It operates two TikTok accounts (@sydney and @visitnsw) mostly focused on natural wonders and outdoor attractions.

“The beauty of going digital is that the content lives on long after it’s published and can be searched and accessed at any time as a sort of visual library,” says a spokesman for Destination NSW.

A popular TikTok shows viewers deviating from the path to get to a waterfall in NSW.

A popular TikTok shows viewers deviating from the path to get to a waterfall in NSW.Credit:

“By having a voice in the conversation, we can act as the authority on visitor experiences in Sydney and NSW.”

Part of the appeal of TikTok as a recommendation platform is that the algorithm can generate a mass presence for hyper-local content that can be discovered over and over again via search.

However, there is concern that such disclosure of natural wonders from unconfirmed sources could lead to overcrowding and safety issues.

Destination NSW says it “regularly consults industry stakeholders… to get the latest advice on local conditions” to ensure it only promotes destinations that are “safe and open to the public”, but there is greater concern about the inexperienced Adventurers who encourage unsafe or environmentally unsafe practices.

This is especially true of the popular trend of sharing access to secret places like hidden rock pools and waterfalls or secluded beaches.

A spokesman for the National Parks and Wildlife Service says they are “concerned that visitors’ desire to photograph in national parks sometimes overrides concerns about personal safety.”

They urge visitors to “take responsibility for their own safety by heeding all safety warnings, staying behind safety barriers and on marked paths, trails and designated visitor areas” and “avoiding near inherently dangerous cliffs, waterfalls or rock platforms”.

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LandCare Australia says one of the top pieces of advice for protecting the environment is to “stay on the path when navigating through a national park or heading to the beach”.

“We’re seeing people trying to stray from the path based on advice they may have received online, and it’s disrupting the habitat of flora and fauna.”

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https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/business-is-booming-thanks-to-tiktok-but-at-what-cost-to-our-natural-wonders-20221230-p5c9ip.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_national Business is booming thanks to TikTok, but at what price for our natural wonders?

Callan Tansill

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