There was a time when ticking the Pantheon in Rome, Taj Mahal in Agra or the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro off a bucket list was the ultimate goal for a tourist. Not anymore.
These days, copycat tourism is on the rise with travellers making trips to countries that host replicas of major monuments and landmarks, after having a tryst with the originals.
"Visits to copycat landmarks are still in the nascent stage among Indian travellers," says Karan Anand, head-relationships, Cox and Kings, adding that the most popular replica monuments in the world include the Alpine Village of Hallstatt (Guangdong, China), the White House copy (McLean, Virginia, US), the replica of Mount Rushmore (Chongqing, China) and The Statue of Liberty model (Odaiba, Japan).
In pics:China to Greece: Eiffel Tower copycats around the world
Most visitors tend to visit the original landmarks first before making the journey to see the replicas. "Most of our customers wish to visit destinations anticipating the iconic structures that these cities hold, whether it is the Pyramids of Egypt, Eiffel Tower of France, Statue of Liberty in New York or the Opera House in Sydney," says Vishal Suri, chief executive officer — tour operating, Kuoni India.
And for those looking to indulge in some replica tourism, China is the preferred destination. The country has a collection of popular copycat landmarks including the iconic Eiffel Tower, White House, the Great Sphinx of Giza, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House, the US Capitol and the Colosseum, among others.
"With the impact of social media, especially visually impactful platforms like Facebook and Pinterest, this form of tourism is emerging as a quirky new trend.
With iconic monuments and landmarks always being sure favourites with trigger-happy tourists, destinations such as China offer a range of options and we’re seeing a rising interest in them," says Shibani Phadkar, senior vice president — products and operations, leisure travel (outbound), Thomas Cook (India).
Some popular copycats
St Peter’s Basilica, Nikko, Japan:It is an exceptionally good replica of the basilica within Vatican City.
The Parthenon, nashville, USa:You can find a copy of the original Greek Parthenon here.
The Statue of Liberty, Paris, france:Originally built by a French artist, it was donated to the United States, and then dedicated in 1886. However, a replica exists in its hometown of Paris. Tourists who visit the city make it a point to get a picture of the Statue of Liberty with the Eiffel Tower in the background.