This presentation is part of Are We There Yet? Preservation of Roadside Architecture & Attractions Symposium, Tulsa, Oklahoma, April 10-12, 2018.

Presentation Video and Transcript

By Dylan Thuras


Media can have a profound effect on the status of a given location both good and bad. Tourism to New Zealand has been booming, since the island nation’s breathtaking vistas appeared in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. Even the 2008 dark comedy “In Bruges” has had a positive effect on that Belgian city’s foot traffic.

While too much media coverage can worsen problems of over tourism in places like Iceland, a well run media campaign can be the difference between life and death for lesser known locations. For example Hatch Art managed to launch a successful media campaign to help save Hamtramck Disneyland, an outsider art site just outside of Detroit. At Atlas Obscura, we’ve seen our own stories have a real world impact on destinations like the Q’eswachaka Rope Bridge in Cuzco, Peru, the root bridges of Cherrapunji, India, and the Clown Motel in Tonopah, Nevada in a way that has also materially boosted local economies.

This presentation will discuss how great storytelling and the use of tools like newsletters, social media, and events, can be a powerful toolset in laying the groundwork for successfully funding preservation.


Dylan Thuras is the co-founder of Atlas Obscura, a multimedia company and “Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders” visited by over 5 million monthly users, co-author of NY Times #1 best seller Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders, and author of the forthcoming kids book “The Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid.”

Dylan has spoken at conferences including SXSW, DMAI, and TEDxVerona about discovery, wonder, and changing nature of travel. Dylan lives in Rosendale, NY with his wife Michelle, his three year old son Finn, and new addition to the household, daughter Jean.

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