Travel art challenge study draws links between creativity and holidays

Picture the Sydney Opera House.

Of course you know what it looks like, but can you draw it?

The art skills of 132 English-speaking tourists were recently tested to see who could draw a series of landmarks from memory.

The results were a mixed bag.

From the one traveller whose Sphinx resembled a crook rabbit to another smart –Alec artist who drew Big Ben as a bell (insisting ‘if they wanted a picture of the famous London landmark they should have asked for the Palace of Westminster‘) – the study got a whole range of submissions.

Drawings ranged from ‘good’, ‘bad’ to the downright ‘unrecognisable’.

But the purpose of the study was not to test the travellers’ drawing credentials.

Conducted by mybyat.com, the research was to prove a theory that ‘travel heightens creativity.’

According to previous research travel is good for “physical health, can help reduce stress, heighten creativity, and increase happiness” but the researchers wanted to test if travel increases visual memory and creativity.

It certainly failed to produce the next Picasso.



Dubai, at the centre of which the Burj stands as the tallest building, welcomed 16 million overnight visitors. More than New York, Singapore or even Tokyo.

The Dubai-based researchers seemed a little hurt by visitors’ inability to draw either the local landmarks of the Burj or Palm Jumeirah.


While the research proved little beyond the fact that there are few cities as unmemorable as the Middle Eastern hub, it did prove that certain landmarks are extremely difficult to draw.

It turns out Big Ben is the most difficult landmark to draw in the world.

In spite of being the landmark the travellers were most confident about, only 10 per cent of drawings were deemed accurate.

The big take away from this study? Don’t forget to pack a camera.

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