Whatever happened to seeing where your travels may take you and the excitement of discovering hidden gems by chance? Increasingly, a new wave of social-savvy travellers are opting for a very different style of travel, including meticulously planned itineraries, curated with the help of a modern-day travel agent: Instagram.
With over 800 million monthly active users that share an estimated 95 million photos a day, it’s undeniable that we have an appetite for visual content. Instagram has fast-become one of the most trusted sources of travel advice, with 48% of users relying on the app for destination inspiration for their next escape. In fact, ‘Instagrammability’ is the most vital consideration for millennials when choosing a destination.
Last year, a study by National Geographic found that certain destinations appearing on the app experienced a growth in the number of visitors the more it was tagged. Tourism boards across the globe have quickly wised-up, with many already hosting ‘influencers’ for their holidays in exchange for sharing their adventures with their many eager followers.
The astounding business potential through utilising this new travel platform is perfectly summarised by photographer Chris Burkard, who shares;
“Now you’re less than 10 clicks away from seeing an image on Instagram to purchasing a ticket to go there.”
Whilst Instagram presents a great opportunity for destinations to put themselves on the map alongside empowering users, opening their eyes to a world of options and inspiration, it is also beginning to show its darker side.
With travellers planning every aspect of their trip down to the last meal out and coffee break based on recommendations by their favourite instagrammer, it runs the risk of killing our sense of adventure. It also hinders the potential for local businesses that aren’t splashed over the pages of top influencers, which rely on good old-fashioned footfall. Certain destinations have already seen such a large influx of social-media driven visitors that it has also invited the detrimental effects of over-tourism, including environmental degradation, cultural erosion and unsustainable development.
So when you come to plan your next getaway, think twice about travelling to somewhere a little different and share your adventure that others can be inspired by. It’s time to re-discover your inner explorer and your memories might be that bit more special for it!