National survey asks travelers what they think about selfie sticks and their use at Walt Disney World

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Walt Disney World’s ban on selfie sticks in its theme parks has put the topic in the news yet again. The total ban went into effect last week, following a partial ban that excluded the devices from roller coasters. (AllEars.Net readers told us what they thought about the use of selfie sticks on attractions here.) Now, the poles designed to hold smartphones for picture-taking are not allowed in the parks at all.

Walt Disney World certainly is not the only tourist attraction that has banned selfie sticks. Recently, Travel Leaders Group conducted a national survey about the use of selfie sticks at major attractions, and one question specifically mentions Walt Disney World.

“Selfie sticks are being banned at some very popular tourist attractions, such as Rome’s Colosseum, the Palace of Versailles, the Smithsonian and on Disney World rides. When asked, ‘If you knew it was prohibited and you saw another tourist taking photos with a selfie stick, what would you do?’ the responses were:

** 33.7 percent of respondents would say nothing
** 32.2 percent would tell a security guard or official personnel
** 26.2 percent were not sure what they would do
** 8.9 percent would say something directly to the person

So, fewer than half of respondents would voice their concerns when selfie sticks were used in situations where they are banned for safety reasons or for interfering with the enjoyment of other visitors. Would you feel motivated or comfortable saying something if you found yourself in this situation?

Interestingly, however, the majority of participants in this survey said they did not own a selfie stick. However, when asked, “If you were taking photos in a location that banned selfie sticks, what would you do?” most people who owned selfie sticks said they would abide by the rules and not use their selfie sticks. Less than one percent said they would still try to use their selfie sticks and hope not to get caught.

Related questions on the travel survey asked participants what they would do if they were visiting locations where photos themselves were strictly banned and what they would do if they saw visitors damaging attractions.

“When asked, ‘Have you ever taken photos at a location, destination or exhibit that strictly prohibited all photos (such as the Sistine Chapel, England’s Crown Jewels, certain Japanese temples, etc.)?’ most people said they have not done that. About 18 percent said they hadn’t taken such photos but they really wanted to sneak some pictures. Only about 10 percent admitted they secretly took photos when no one was looking.

“Tourists at Rome’s Colosseum were caught carving initials into the ancient site. Also, two tourists in Italy recently broke a piece off a historic statue while climbing it to take a picture. When asked, ‘If you were at a major tourist attraction and saw another visitor damaging the attraction (by carving their initials into it, walking off-path and trampling sensitive vegetation, breaking off a piece to take home as a souvenir), what would you do?’ almost 73 percent reported they would tell a security guard or official personnel. About 15 percent said they would say something directly to the person.

This is the seventh consecutive year for the consumer travel survey. American consumers were engaged predominantly through social media channels, such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as through direct contact with travel clients for the following Travel Leaders Group companies: Protravel International, Results! Travel, Travel Leaders, Tzell Travel Group and Vacation.com.

Want to weigh in on any of the questions? Give us your thoughts in the comments.


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