An interesting observation is that a steady increase in accommodation check-ins is turning into a worldwide boom — for remote resorts where smartphones are out of service range.
That lost feeling of being “off the grid” is now such a sought-after luxury for most people of developed nations that even inside urban zones, health retreats are beginning to offer holiday packages where contact with the outside world is deliberately limited, in an effort to recreate the dying natural luxury of being away from technological methods of communication.
Ecotourism Australia CEO Kim Cheatham said the advantage of travelling to the increasingly fewer places that don’t have mobile phone reception is that people can enjoy quality family time, rather than succumb to the constant urge to use their smartphones in front of each other.
The smartphone is destroying our ability not only to communicate, but to interact with and enjoy the world around us. Most of us, myself included, spend our days walking around with our noses buried in our cell phones, BlackBerrys, iPhones, etc. Gone are the days where one can even wait for a mere coffee without checking his or her pocket device.
What this has led to, is an underlying, ever-growing sense of detachment from meaningful interactions: Grid Addiction, as I call it, is leaving citizens ironically more alone and disenchanted with their human relationships than ever before. So much so, people are resorting (pun intended) to top-dollar destinations just to get away from the temptation.
This reduced sense of connection felt by most people is a big factor in forming and maintaining relationships. It is also problematic when switching off from ones “broadcasted social identity” is no longer possible.
Few can ever truly relax beyond a largely superficial image of themselves, which no doubt is playing a hugely significant part in the worldwide depression epidemic.
“You actually get people connecting with where they are and immersing themselves in the destination instead of constantly checking their alternative virtual world,” Cheatham observes.
“From a family holiday point of view imagine if your kids weren’t able to spend all their time on Facebook on their smartphones and can actually talk?”
Gwinganna spokeswoman Tracy Wills said people were increasingly seeking sanctuary at health retreats where mobile phone use was restricted.
“We have no mobile phones in public areas – that includes texting,” she said.
“Of course we know people need to stay in touch so they can use their mobiles in their room and we have a designated area if they can’t get reception in their room. Staff phones are also on silent. We like to create an environment where people connect with each other. They can have conversations rather than being distracted and multi-tasking.”
Clearly, smartphones are the new smoking.
Speaking on the nature of luxury, Lizard Island spokeswoman Jill Collins sums it up perfectly:
“Luxury used to be about what thread count the sheets were and how many stars a resort had.
The new luxury is about being able to focus on who you are and getting away from all of those everyday things.”
- How Do People Use Their Smartphones (mycricket.com)
- Studies reveal addictive nature of smartphone use (popwuping.com)
- Why we miss the buzz when our smartphones fall silent (dailymail.co.uk)
- News on Future Smartphones (phonesreview.co.uk)
- Smartphone addicts plagued by “phantom” vibrations (mobot.net)