Instagram: How it is changing travel


By Unathi Nkanjeni

It is no secret that social media has taken the world by storm and the most popular medium for instant picture sharing, Instagram, plays an even greater role in the travel-sphere.

Amongst the millennial group, the app is fast becoming a social diary as it goes with the saying "if it's not on the 'gram, it didn't happen".

Although most of the photos on the app won't reveal it, the pics we scroll through are results of extreme measures 'grammers go through just to capture the perfect Instagram-famous shot. But how is it really changing the way people travel?

According to a recent study done by National Geographic, particular locations featured on the app grow in numbers of visitors the more they are tagged.

And stakeholders and tourism drivers are taking advantage of this. "For example, tourism boards invite and hosts “influencers”—social media trendsetters with large followings—to post about their adventures. This then results in the fastest tourism growth - a 14% increase," NatGeo says.

Photographer Chris Burkard says the results of posting a picture on Instagram equates to less than 10 clicks away from someone seeing the image and purchasing a ticket to go there" in some instances.

"I've met people who have travelled to places because of my photographs, and I don't mean that in an egotistical way but that wasn't happening 10 years ago," says Burkard.

According to Burkard, travellers shouldn't only follow the popular pics though. "Try going to places that aren't being showcased," he tells NatGeo, "and share your own experiences instead of trying to mimic others.