As the summer draws to an end and we dream of warmer, sunnier places, we look at how our travels are being influenced by social media.
The Telegraph recently reported that ‘a third of millennials say posting pictures on social media is as important as the holiday itself’ and you often see blog posts advertising ‘the 50 most ‘instagrammable’ holiday destinations’ and so on. But have we gone too far? Should we be visiting destinations based on the Instagram pictures we can share with our peers, or should we be enjoying the quality time with our loved ones in a new and beautiful country?
Based on research by WeSwap, The Telegraph reported:
Furthermore, Schofields found that the photo-worthiness of a destination beats other factors such as cost, cuisine and whether alcohol is freely available at a low cost. Shockingly, sightseeing opportunities scored as the lowest priority on millennials’ list.
Is this an indication that we are in a popularity contest, or is it more genuine than that? Do we trust our peers and Instagram influencers more than we trust travel agents and guides? WeSwap’s research found that only 28 per cent of people surveyed trust social media over magazines, television and online reviews.
Whatever the motivation, Instagram is certainly having an impact on travel destinations. Today, what were once remote destinations attracting only a few hundred visitors a year, are now inundated with tourists. And for many, the goal is to capture that Insta-worthy shot.
The small Greek island of Santorini is a prime example. Back in 2010, 15 million tourists visited the Island – Instagram was launched in October the same year. Eight years later, the popular holiday destination is expected to welcome 32 million tourists throughout the summer months.
At just 76 square kilometres, it has reportedly struggled with traffic jams and overcrowding, alongside rising water and energy consumption. The population has led to the introduction of a daily cap on the number of cruise passengers allowed to enter the island on a given day in an attempt to restrict the number of visitors.
It’s not all bad news though, some countries are taking advantage of the trend and using social media influencers as a successful marketing tool. The town of Wanaka in New Zealand saw a 14 per cent increase in tourism when it focused on inviting influencers to visit, which outshone traditional marketing methods.
Social media allows us to keep up with travel bloggers and vloggers that share our interests and provide ideas for our next trip that we may not have known about otherwise. But we need to remember to live in the moment and enjoy our holiday experience and not base our travels on the number of likes we might get.
By Sian Stacey, Communications Executive at onebite