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InterContinental launches ICons

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InterContinental® Hotels & Resorts, launches InterContinental ICons, inviting a global conversation to help travellers uncover the true essence of some of the world’s most exhilarating cities. 

InterContinental launches ICons


The brand’s independent global study1, reveals over 70% of travellers say they feel obliged to only see the most popular tourist sites, despite over 80% expressing the desire to see more of what the city has to offer ‘as the locals do’.  

This means many travellers are taking the same routes and seeing the same things, resulting in a “sea of sameness” on social media. Social media analysis revealed the Eiffel Tower in Paris as the world’s most posted tourist site on Instagram, representing 10% of all posts worldwide. While Sydney’s Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House topped the list of heavily posted Australian sites, with 65% of Australian travellers feeling the destinations are overexposed. Buckingham Palace soared to the top as the most-tagged site in London (21%) and Central Park the most-tagged in New York City (20%), pointing to the fact that tourists may just be skimming the surface by visiting the “tick-box” sites. 


Only 39% of Sydneysiders feel tourists actually see and experience what Sydney truly has to offer. The study reveals Sydneysiders have unique ways of defining these genuinely local experiences – focussed more on the sounds, sights and tastes of Sydney including where to discover the melting pot of cuisines across Sydney’s food scene, or the unmissable smells reminiscent of a Sunday afternoon barbeque at Bronte Beach.  

An online vote launching today asks locals and travellers across the world to vote for the most symbolic sights, sounds, tastes, smells and feelings in these cities, to ensure travellers connect with the city more deeply when they visit.  

The poll closes on December 31, 2019, and a global panel of judges, featuring Australian artist and collector Dina Broadhurst and acclaimed National Geographic photographer Charlie Hamilton James will lend their expertise to curating the top five InterContinental ICons in each city, with a final reveal and celebration in early 2020.  

Sydney local and artist Dina Broadhurst has a unique way of discovering a city’s culture. Dina said, “My art is about finding the untamed natural beauty inside, versus the staged, and edited versions presented to others. When I travel and explore I’m constantly trying to dig deeper into a city, and not just experience the surface by ticking off destinations or sites. I always find the memories of a place, the sights, the smells and the sounds, are stronger in underrated locations.”  

“My favourite city in the world is Paris. I love the richness of the culture, and to see the classic history mixed with a new version of contemporary creativity is so inspiring. The vintage flea markets in Paris for collectable furniture treasures is a must, as is the excitement of stumbling upon an unplanned street market with local treasures, crafts even fruit displayed in such a way the French always do oh so well. Everything they do has a certain art and flair to it.“ 

Ginger Taggart, Vice President, Global Marketing, IHG Luxury Portfolio, comments: “As a pioneer in luxury travel, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts has always been the gateway to fascinating places and local cultural wisdom; so we understand that travellers are craving a deeper connection to the places they visit. With our latest campaign, InterContinental ICons, we’ve set out to discover and celebrate authentic places and moments that might be overlooked by visitors but are truly part of what makes a city special.  Whether it’s the sweet perfume of fresh-cut flowers outside a boutique in London’s Mayfair or enjoying the view of the Brooklyn Bridge, cocktail in hand, from a rooftop bar in Dumbo, New York, these ICons might include under-the-radar experiences or well-known tourist hotspots viewed in new and unexpected ways. We want to reignite a sense of fascination for these much-visited cities and encourage discussion around what makes these places truly iconic.” 


The InterContinental brand has pioneered luxury travel for more than 70 years and now has 208 hotels in 66 countries worldwide. It is thanks to this footprint and insight that the brand understands that the modern luxury traveller is looking for a deeper connection with the iconic places they travel to. Through social media analysis, the insights of key opinion leaders in each city and independent research, InterContinental has established a long-list of multi-sensory experiences that are representative of each city. Beginning today, InterContinental invites the public to select the experiences they truly feel demonstrate the city or cities they know best at and can engage in a conversation on across social media using the hashtag #intercontinentalicons 

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