Escape Rooms: A New Phenomenon in Tourism
Traveling has been a way for us to understand ourselves and simultaneously escape the hollowness that haunts our actuality. And it has provided us the expertise through which we’ve created a world where we were finally able to escape and forget our problems. With the existence of so many fun places, we have embraced the art of tourism for engaging in adventures that involve us knowing and experiencing the beauty and richness of new sites and their artistic, climatic, linguistic, and religious differences.
And apart from the local and culture-rich locations and monuments, tourists enjoy visiting the haunted houses, popular restaurants and bars, karaoke, and escape rooms while exploring a city during their holiday stay. While the remaining particulars in this list have existed for a long time and have attracted cults behind their legacy, escape rooms have recently made their way here. Their immersive and theatrical experiences have made them a popular entertainment hub for the majority of the age group.
An introduction of escape rooms and their connection with tourism
An escape room is a breakout puzzle entertainment inspired by the escape-the-room genre of video games. It goes by various other names like live escapes, room escapes, breakout game, etc. If you’re not aware of what an escape room is, here’s a briefing – In a locked room, the participants are supposed to work in a group of 2 to 10 people and solve various riddles, complete the challenges, and detect clues to escape the room within a stipulated time duration (usually within an hour.) The room itself is supposed to be one prime puzzle and solving it leads to the completion of the aim and victory. Sometimes it also allows the participants to escape the game site as a final objective completion.
The first escape rooms date back to the late 2000s, and only around 2003 did their existence take a definite appearance. Once the concept set itself in the market with different people getting acquainted, subsequent escape rooms emerged in 2007 (the Real Escape Game in Japan). In late 2010, they got featured as the central plot concept in many thriller novels, horror movies, and television shows that helped boost their popularity. Eventually, 2011 saw the birth of Captivate Escape Rooms in countries like Australia and Singapore, and by the time it was 2015, there were 60 escape rooms across the world.
Why are escape rooms a new phenomenon in the tourism industry?
According to the gaming survey records, around 50,000 escape rooms are present as of November 2019. And this counting has only been rising ever since. As a result, today, they have become a top-rated phenomenon in the entertainment industry. It is one of the trendiest marketing events in the economic and entertainment businesses. Not only have they provided a way for people to escape their reality by turning towards a different setting, but they’ve also been a source for boosting various feel-good hormones.
And by keeping the various factors and above points in mind, here are some reasons why escape rooms are trending in the field of tourism:
- They are a unique and fresh concept in the recreation market
In the early 2017s, countries like the US and UK saw a growth rate of such game rooms by more than 200%. And with increasing industry came the gradual competition. The start-up costs rose to add special effects and an immersive environment to make it more entertaining. As improvements got added, the task of solving the puzzles using paper and pencil got replaced by digital and printable clues. Sophistication cycled ahead, and slowly an interactive background equipped with a wide range of props and elaborate storylines became prominent to make the atmosphere more realistic and theatrical for people to enjoy while exploring something new.
- They allow people to embrace wholesomeness and forget their worries by playing interactive and mind-boggling games
The group hunt for puzzle-solving has helped people bond with their family and friends. The different themed rooms with a wide variety of backstory to support its panorama has attracted people of a bigger age group, ranging from kids and teens to young people and adults. But it became a bigger hit amongst those individuals of the younger generation who were under stress and had to cope with a lot of work pressure. Such groups, like the college students, the fresher in the job market, and people with their start-ups found escape rooms more relaxing. It became a place where they’d put their skills and knowledge to decode the riddles while exercising their mental muscles and relieving the stress of their work and studies.
- It has plenty of themes to enjoy in a cost-efficient way
Escape rooms provide a thrilling experience at less cost when compared with visiting different theme parks and places of tourist attraction. The many difficulty levels and availability of options of success rates of each room present people with engaging challenges that keep them engaged. The various narrative stages like money heist, haunted chambers, evil mummies’ curse, space exploration, zombie escape, science lab explosion, etc., provide a real-life adventure that becomes hard to forget.
- It is the perfect recreational environment for every age group
The atmosphere is healthy and perfect for hoisting surprise birthday parties, a family event, or a date, attracting relatives and couples to spend some quality time with each other. Whether it be a special occasion or a way to de-stress and do a fun activity on weekends, escape games have offered a fantastic alternative to video games and premise settings in easy steps.
- It gives the audience the feeling of being outside time and space.
One of the prime reasons people enjoy touring and visiting different locations and recreational spots is to get away from their bland and hectic reality. Being stuck in a tight schedule where you have to repeat the same thing tremendously affects your mental health and reduces creativity and productivity. Everyone is turning towards different entertainment activities to help them cope in this environment. And that is why escape rooms are trending in the tourism market. People get to experience the feeling of going on a thrilling adventure and being outside the time and space of their mundane reality. For them, it is a timeless venture where they can explore being a protagonist in another fantastical dimension for some time out of their daily lives.
- The attraction of new technology and immersive features of an escape room is captivating
We all are social animals. And therefore, it is inevitable for us not to feel attracted to any trending activity that explores some mind-bending and immersive technical designs. The structure of an escape room revolves around different technological aspects to give it more depth and dimension. Live-action sequences, immersive backgrounds, human-sized props, lighting with sound effects, tricky puzzles, augmented and virtual reality concepts, and many more are barely the surface of the themes behind an escape room. People are curious to see and experience the pleasing factors and benefits they can get from these intriguing and tech-laced escape rooms. Thus, there’s no doubt that these puzzle games are becoming the new face of tourism and audience-friendly recreation.
Bonus: Some fun facts about escape rooms
- Escape rooms have their origins in Japan. The very first escape room was designed by a man named Takao Kato and built by a company named SCRAP in 2007.
- The inspiration behind the concept of escape rooms was a 2004 video game called Crimson Rush, The creator was also a Japanese man named Toshimitsu Takagi. The game’s mission was to solve 23 puzzles to escape a crimson colored room you are trapped in,
- The Netherlands has so many escape rooms, that on average there is one game per 20,000 people there. The total population of the country is 17 million.
- The longest escape game in the world exists in Greece. The room is called the ‘Paradox Project’. The time limit for the game is 3 hours.
- The shortest escape room is in the US. The game is called ‘The Chamber’ and its duration is only 5 minutes! It is a part of a Halloween haunted house pop-up by the brand Evidence of Evil in Connecticut,
- On average, the cheapest country to play an escape room is India where the median price of these experiences is $4. The most expensive one is UAE, specifically the city of Dubai with the median price being $41.
The pandemic has disrupted our lives and brought in a lot of mental health issues and family disruptions. Times have been hard in the lockdown. And in such cases, escape rooms have become the ultimate solution for us to forget our problems. We have been able to escape our reality even for a short while by seeking entertainment and enjoying the minute aspects of our lives.
And once you visit your type of escape room in any city, you will understand the hype behind this entertainment phenomenon. Everyone is a protagonist here, just as they are in their respective lives. So, the next time you plan your visit and tour a place, make sure to search for some escape rooms in that area to enjoy the perfect breakout by doing something different that isn’t possible in our usual and day to day life.