The Californian desert town of Lake Elsinore has seen an influx of tourists since a super bloom of colourful poppies carpeted their mountainsides.
A result of recent wildfires and a very wet winter, the poppies have attracted upwards of 100,000 people since St Patrick’s Day weekend, to a town where only 65,000 normally reside!
Local businesses are thriving and were not expecting the tourist boom that was exacerbated by the desire for many to get that perfect shot for Instagram.
The local mayor, Steve Manos, has become a regular on social media offering updates to tourists en-route the city to try and assist with traffic delays into the town. Being a completely unplanned event, it has been a challenging exercise for the city to navigate through.
From issues with the public toilet system, dealing with tourists who are less than respectful of the environment and locals unable to get around their own town to make it to work and school, it begs the question; should every city plan for an unexpected tourist boom in this influencer era?
One thing is for certain, the upside to the event that is being dubbed everything from “poppy-palooza” to “poparazzi”, is that many local businesses are thanking the poppies for boosting their profits in such a major way.
Some advice for those ready to unleash their inner flower child and head to the mountains though; expect lengthy delays heading into town, respect the poppies and the town they have chosen to call home, stay on the trails and exercise common etiquette.
Have you ever travelled somewhere purely in search of the perfect Insta-post or selfie?
Words: Natalie Kessell