How Instagram Is Changing Travel
" Puffed, gray-tinged clouds roll over Odda, Norway, reflected in the quiet azure waters of Lake Ringedalsvatnet. More than 2,000 feet above, a hiker is perched atop Trolltunga, a cliff that juts out of the mountain. There’s not another soul in sight—at least, that’s what Instagram might have you believing.
What photos of this iconic vista don’t reveal is the long line of hikers weaving around the rocky terrain each morning, all waiting for their chance to capture their version of the Instagram-famous shot. Between 2009 and 2014, visitors to Trolltunga increased from 500 to 40,000 in what many consider a wave of social media-fueled tourism..."
Now six years old, Instagram has more than 500 million active users sharing an average of 80 million photos a day. Clearly we have an appetite for imagery, and it’s influencing our travel decisions.
“I see this desire to escape to these landscapes, to do something real, because more than ever everyone is buried in their phones,” says photographer Corey Arnold (@arni_coraldo), who shot the October 2016 cover story for National Geographic magazine. “But where do they get the inspiration to travel ? Instagram.”
The proof is in the numbers. For example, in 2015, the tourism board of the small alpine town of Wanaka, New Zealand, began inviting and hosting “influencers”—social media trendsetters with large followings—to post about their adventures. The result was the fastest tourism growth in the country : a 14 percent increase."...