New research from Cumbria Tourism shows that people prefer to send their holiday news home via their mobiles or social networking sites, rather than traditional postcards. This finding has prompted the organisation to launch a Wish You Were Here campaign encouraging its 15 million annual visitors to rediscover the art of sending the Great British postcard.
The survey commissioned by YouGov PLC online revealed that only 27% of UK Adults have sent a postcard in the last 12 months. Furthermore 14% even said that they had not sent a postcard in over a decade meaning that if this trend continues, postcards could eventually die out as younger generations use social networking as part of every day life.
The first souvenir postcard was printed in the United States in 1893 and a year later the first British postcards were produced. Today, sending a text is the preferred alternative and 37% use email or social media sites to keep in touch.
Interestingly, 13% would not send any contact back home via post or electronically - choosing instead to take a complete break while away from home to enjoy an escape from the 24-7 communication demands of today’s society.
Ian Stephens, Chief Executive at Cumbria Tourism, said: “Social media is a great way to keep in touch but in terms of holidaymakers it is eroding the tradition of the postcard. The Lake District landscape has inspired literary greats over the years and we want people to follow their lead and take the time to stop and think about their surroundings instead of abbreviating their experiences into 140 characters.
“Postcards are much more personal to the recipient and can often become a cherished keepsake so let us embrace this institution and make 2010 the year of the Great British Break and the Great British Postcard.”
To help kick start the campaign, Cumbria Tourism is asking the country’s most famous stars of stage, screen, music and sport to send their own postcards with personal recollections, drawings and messages of support, to Cumbria in the wake of last November’s unprecedented flooding.
The area is a popular destination for those in the public eye with celebrities like Dame Judi Dench and Sting among its regular visitors.
The last 12 months have seen an increased interest in ‘nostalgia tourism’ with 2009 and 2010 being crowned the years of the ‘staycation’, re-popularising the time-honoured great British break. ‘Slow Food’ has been championed by the likes of Jamie Oliver inspiring us to re-evaluate our impatient lifestyles and make the most of local produce, and there has been a revival for all things kitsch with designers such as Cath Kidston revitalising everything from tents to teapots with antique style.
58% of respondents who do use postcards said that family members were the last people they wrote to, demonstrating that though vintage, postcards still have their place in today’s world and are a thoughtful, personal and appreciated way of reaching loved ones.
For those that do insist on using new technology, the dedicated Wish You Were Here website - www.wishyouwereherecumbria.co.uk comes complete with a blank online postcard, which people can use to post a message to the area. In the coming weeks, the website will also provide regular updates on celebrity replies.