Neuro-tourism. It may sound like a robot contraption of sorts strapping you into a virtual reality extravaganza, wires and doodads galore but there’s a real science to that giddy travel feeling we all chase. You know the one, the delight in arriving at your destination, the glee you feel when experiencing the hustle and bustle of a different city and your relish of the local tastes mouthful after mouthful. Well, Singapore Tourism Board decided to map just that, courtesy of EEG headsets that captured in realtime the feelings expressed by travellers as the explored every nook and cranny of Singapore; the results will make you reconsider your next travel itinerary.
The headsets worked to capture the brain’s electrical activity measuring the emotional responses of feelings we’ve all experienced abroad, ‘fun’, ‘happiness’, ‘stress’, ‘interest’, ‘excitement’ and ‘relaxation’. A true roller coaster of emotions. Under the watchful gaze of UNSW and University of Sydney researchers, the study revealed more than we care to admit to our travel agent. For one, we really do travel for food.
When chowing down on local fare, like a cracking chilli crab for the first time respondents felt similar levels of ‘excitement’ and ‘stress’ comparable to taking a ride on exhilarating MegaZip zip line on Sentosa Island. So next time you say you’re keen to eat your way around the world, know that it’s a noble pursuit that will fulfil you immensely. Local fare in particular offered more sensory overload when compared to Western style meals; with Singapore’s fragrant hawker style cuisine filling the streets it’s no wonder.
Sharon Lam the Area Director Oceania, Singapore Tourism Board noted,
“This study enables us to see the kinds of emotions our visitors are actually feeling as they explore Singapore, and we’re excited by where this technology can take tourism in the future.”
The study also found you don’t need to invest a hefty amount to have a time to remember, with free attractions and those unique to Singapore such as Gardens By The Bay or Marina Bay Sands epic rooftop pool as moments of peak “happiness”. Just leave the fanny pack at home and have no shame in walking the tourist trail, their often worth the TripAdvisor top status – once you get used to the gaggle of people walking alongside you.
With flights to Singapore so dirt cheap at the moment and that rooftop infinity pool the stuff of stopover dreams (we’ve all seen that envious ‘gram fill our feed come holiday time) the science proves it’s worth every penny. And totally justifies your holiday weight gain and post holiday depression. Pack your eating pants and get booking dear friends.
Image source: A Pair And A Spare, K Is For Kani, Marina Bay Sands Singapore.