If pictures are worth a thousand words, then tourism promotional videos – with their vivid scenery and display of interesting cultures – makes us want to hop on the next plane out of wherever we are, and straight to those destinations.
It was no easy task rounding up some of the coolest tourism videos. From a magic show with insanely good illusions to an epic one that makes your hair stand with its ethereal music and gorgeous vistas, we present you our fantastic five.
Since it’s Malaysia’s National Day, let’s start off with a homegrown one.
1. The Essence of Asia
At five minutes long, the official promotional video for the Visit Malaysia 2014 campaign is easily an epic. The production takes a 180-degree turn from past Tourism Malaysia videos. Where previous videos are more upbeat and thrive on the fun factor, The Essence of Asia is a slow-burning and cinematic clip that tugs at the heartstrings.
But then again, we’re suckers for great indie songstresses. And the ethereal music that features the magnetic vocals of homegrown Yuna only adds to the beautifully-shot video’s appeal. Incredibly evocative, haunting at times and absolutely breathtaking, the video truly embodies the “Malaysia Truly Asia” spirit – depicting the various colourful cultures in the country.
In its quest to showcase the alluring beauty of Malaysia, the video went on to win several international awards. It also makes us want to go on a short excursion within the country. Above all, this gorgeous video reminds Malaysians that despite all the maddeningly discouraging nonsense that’s going on at the moment, Malaysia is a destination – and home – that’s worth championing for.
2. The Scream from Norway
You don’t have to be an art enthusiast to recognise Edward Munch’s The Scream. It’s a painting that’s as iconic as Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. And the folks at the Norwegian tourism certainly did good in associating the country’s destinations with such a universal symbol.
The artwork depicts a person howling against a backdrop of swirling waters and orange sky. Taking cue from the painting, the idea of the video is basically: I scream, you scream, we all scream for…Norway!
The video – released in 2013 to celebrate the artist’s 150th anniversary – features clips of visitors shrieking in various Norwegian locations. But while the one in the painting reeks of agony, the shoutings on the video are ones of exhilaration, excitement and joy. Strangely enough, that video makes us want to scream our lungs out at an exotic Nordic destination.
3. I hate Thailand
Nothing grabs your attention quite like reverse psychology. And the next video we selected does just that. The story goes like this: A filthy-looking backpacker (read: stereotype alert) who had lost his belongings at a wild beach party (read: another stereotype alert), made an amateur video detailing his experiences. In his anger, he said, “I hate Thailand!” Mm mmmm, oh no, he didn’t!
When a visitor openly expressed his disdain for the Land of Smiles, it’s sure to warrant public interest. After the video went viral, it was revealed that the film was actually commissioned by the Tourism Authority of Thailand. Its purpose? To counter the bad publicity following the brutal murders of two backpackers at Koh Tao in September 2014.
The video was a success – gaining more than one million views within three days on YouTube. But if you ask us, the video – that depicts blossoming love – is also a worthy pilot for a rom-com.
4. Stockholm – it’s not a coincidence!
Do you believe in magic? Even if you don’t, this video about Sweden’s capital might make you a believer. Watch in awe as magician Charlie Caper combine both magic and information in this three-minute-long clip.
Caper begins by detailing how Stockholm is Europe’s fastest growing city. Just as you’re about to dismiss the seemingly boring lecture, the man starts to perform some pretty neat tricks. And as he divulges more facts about the city, the illusions only get cooler and cooler. At one point, Caper even pulls out a toy subway train from behind a deck of cards to illustrate his point about accessibility in the vibrant metropolis.
Perhaps what’s even more magical, is the fact that we’re suddenly so well-versed about Stockholm once the video concludes. Like, did you know it’s safe to drink the water straight out of the river in Stockholm? And that Sweden boasts excellent air quality that could prolong your life? Just click play now to be an expert on all things Swedish.
5. Land of the Midnight Sun
Maybe we’re just used to the thought that nights should be all dark and gloomy. Thus, when the folks at Visit Finland released a video about midnights that are as light as day, of course we’re immediately hooked!
Aptly titled Land of the Midnight Sun, the two-minute-long clip shows visitors enjoying a plethora of activities during summer in the country, at a time when most people should be tucked in bed. From a man cycling across the city streets to another one jumping into the waters of a refreshing river, the riveting scenes are certainly intriguing and amazing.
Watching the video, you’d probably go, “Duuuuuude, don’t you need to sleep?”. But at the same time, we can’t help but marvel at the extent of possibilities that a bright midnight – as oxymoronic as that sounds – presents for travellers to Finland during summer. The video was honoured at the 2013 Golden City Gate awards.