Yesterday, a diverse group of directors the Antor tourist boards and representatives hailing from the stunning South Pacific Islands of Samoa to the enchanting Indian Ocean's Seychelles, the picturesque Caribbean's Bahamas, and captivating Tunisia, as well as esteemed counterparts from across Europe – spanning from the Isle of Man to France, Malta, Gibraltar, and the Czech Republic – convened with the BGTW board. In the company of distinguished travel writers, influencers, photographers, and TV producers. They engaged in a spirited discussion at London's Little Ship Club, focused on the future of Travel Writing and Destination Promotion in the context of the growing influence of AI and ChatGPT.
The prevailing sentiment leaned toward the importance of striking the right balance, preserving the creativity and emotional human connection that AI currently cannot replicate. Noted photographer Chris Coe and esteemed Travel editor and lecturer Ross Clarke highlighted that AI has already been a part of our lives for at least a decade, whether through spell-checking or the advent of mobile phone cameras. Clarke warmly embraced the role of AI and ChatGPT in easing writer's block, tailoring content to target audiences, crafting listicles, and supporting editorial briefs. However, both acknowledged that AI's role should be limited to such assistance, with the essential human touch providing creativity and emotion.
Tracey Poggio, representing Gibraltar and serving as the Chair of Antor, expressed the view that while AI and ChatGPT can save time and perform tasks akin to a capable personal assistant, they should never replace the human touch, especially when it comes to final approval. OTT, the event sponsor and an early adopter of AI, likened the use of these technologies to employing a sous chef who can never quite match the expertise of a head chef.
The consensus emerged that this new technology is here to stay, and it is incumbent upon all of us to leverage it to our advantage. Coe argued that AI is based on algorithms and emphasised that photographers must maintain control over the hardware, even if it's highly sophisticated. According to him, software like Photoshop still requires human editing to produce truly emotional images. He challenged the authenticity of many Instagram images, suggesting that it's imperfections that make content and images genuinely human and engaging.
Tolene Van de Merve, hailing from Malta and serving as an Antor board member, delved into the potential pitfalls of AI, including issues such as outdated content, inaccurate recommendations, the lack of emotional connection, and the inability to grasp cultural nuances.
Tracey Poggio added her perspective that brand management and visual oversight are key issues to consider if AI and ChatGPT are employed without management guidelines. She also raised concerns regarding the legal aspects of copyright, destinations using images that do not accurately represent their location, and outdated information that could sway travel decisions.
So was this written with or without ChatGPT’s help?