Instagram has with no doubt changed the way we travel. The “Instagrammability” of a place has become so relevant that sometimes people visit places only to take nice pictures or post stories. In the past few years, travel inspiration accounts of any kind have multiplied… And the majority of them is having terrific success! The result is that Instagram has made famous some destinations that were unknown before. Most of these places are characterized by breathtaking visual impacts, such as picturesque villages, stunning natural wonders, and ancient historical sites: one shot of these places will ensure you thousands of likes.
The use of Instagram to promote a destination has two faces. On one side, it has contributed to boost tourism in places where this sector played only a minor role, creating new jobs for the local population. On the other side, in some places it has attracted low-quality tourists and increased over-tourism, which represents a serious threat for the local community and the environment. Here are some destinations that saw a spike in popularity thanks to the famous social media, for better or worse…
1. Chefchaouen, Morocco
Chefchaouen is a city situated in northwest Morocco and also known as “The Blue Pearl of Morocco.” Once unknown, its popularity has started increasing in the past five or six years, thanks to its Instagrammable picturesque urban views. The city is characterized by buildings painted with different shades of blue (azure, turquoise, cobalt, cyan and more), which create a fairy-tale setting that attracts thousands of Instagrammers.
2. Cappadocia, Turkey
Cappadocia is a region in central Turkey inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage List. The worldwide famous destination has become popular thanks to its particular rock formations, combined with an amazing view of colorful hot air balloons that populate its sky. This unique landscape is the perfect place for a photo shoot: this is why the number of Instagram posts geotagging Cappadocia has drastically increased in the past few years. In 2019, the region registered the highest-ever number of tourists, crossing the 3-million threshold for the first time.
3. Pig Beach, Bahamas
Pig Beach (officially named Big Major Cay) is a famous island which is part of the Bahamas’ Exuma Cays. The island has no residents and is very small: it can be crossed on foot in less than 2 hours. Despite its small dimensions, Big Major Cay is the most visited island of the Bahamas archipelago thanks to the presence of piglets merrily swimming in the ocean. Many tourists decide to attend a guided tour to reach the island and, obviously, take the perfect picture of the swimming pigs for their Instagram profile. There is also an official page on Instagram called @theswimmingpigs with more than 320,000 followers.
4. Petra, Jordan
Petra is an inhabited caravan-city situated between the Dead Sea and the Red Sea. It is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985. There are three reasons why Petra has become so famous. The first one is of course its fascinating archaeology, characterized by structures half built and half carved in the rock and surrounded by mountains and gorges. The second one is that the city has been chosen as filming location for the Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade movie. The last reason is that on basically any Instagram travel account there is at least one post of the fascinating ruins of the ancient city. If you travel there, be ready to deal with a huge crowd of Instagrammers trying to take the perfect shot!
5. Santorini, Greece
Santorini couldn’t miss in this list. The combination of its white houses with blue roofs, together with the view of the sea makes this island highly photogenic. According to several newspapers, it is the world’s most “Instagrammable” destinations by several newspapers. The island has attracted so many influencers and visitors that Santorini’s mayor has decided to limit the number of tourists per day to limit overoturism.