AI study reimagines Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok according to stereotypes

MONDAY, JUNE 17, 2024

In the age of social media, the romanticised expectations placed on dream destinations may not match reality.

In Europe, Paris, the continent’s most popular city break, has made headlines for this phenomenon, dubbed 'Paris Syndrome,' where visitors feel disappointed or even shocked by their experiences. 

Southeast Asia is no exception, with Western culture and entertainment depicting cities like Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok as bucket list destinations.

To shed light on the issue and showcase the staggering difference between local and world stereotypes, leading tour comparison site, TourScanner used AI to examine how local residents and global travellers perceive top city break destinations.

When quizzed on how the world views Bangkok, AI described it as an exotic, party city with iconic landmarks bursting with unique culture to explore.

But the local view is somewhat different – with descriptions of a place that has a distinct contrast between traditional and modern life, with economic opportunity and street food, that’s a victim of traffic, pollution and flooding.

However, all these world-view positives which make it such a desirable destination are what’s making it less so amongst locals.

A busy metropolis with plenty of job opportunities, full of traffic and expensive are all words locals are using to describe the Malaysian capital, as depicted in the AI-reimagined image.

Like all major cities, Kuala Lumpur has seen a significant increase in tourism in the last year alone, so it’s no wonder that traffic is a growing frustration, with a recent study revealing that locals spend 81 hours per year driving in rush hour traffic, with a 43 % congestion level.

A collage of a city street and a city with people walkingDescription automatically generated

AI study reimagines Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok according to stereotypes

You can view the full study and other locations analysed here

Guillaume Picard, Co-Founder of TourScanner, commented:  

“When booking a city break, it’s not uncommon for travellers’ expectations to be shaped by romanticised narratives and glossy portrayals, as our study demonstrates. But often, this can lead to disappointment or worse, tourists being wilfully ignorant of the important issues locals are facing.  

“On the other hand, locals have a far harsher opinion of their cities and may be too quick to overlook the beauty that draws in tourists. 

“While every city boasts its own set of positives and negatives, maintaining an open mind about the realities of each destination can foster a more enriching and respectful travel experience.”