Instagram’s popularity can have adverse effect on small town tourism

Instagram is no doubt still the most powerful and probably most effective photo-sharing app in the world today. What started as an iOS-exclusive social app exploded when the Android version was launched back in the year 2012. Believe it or not, the mobile app was downloaded from the Google Play Store over a million times overnight and about five million in just a few days.

It was good news for the Instagram developers but some iPhone users were not happy with it. There was that “exclusive” feeling before but we’re certain that has already changed over the course of seven years.

Some important milestones were hit as when Facebook acquired the company for $1 billion in 2012. The iconic brown camera logo was changed to a more colorful icon back in 2016. Not many people liked that change but the people learned to live with it.

Social Media Marketing Has Hit Mainstream

When it comes to social marketing and business impact, Instagram has definitely helped thousands to maybe millions of brands. Even individuals have benefitted from Instagram, becoming instant celebrities in their own right. The phrase “broke Instagram” or “broke the Internet” became popular to refer to accounts or posts that trend in social media at a rapid or excessive level. (Case in point: Jennifer Aniston’s getting on IG and receiving some 5 million followers in a few hours)

Another major impact that must be addressed is how Instagram is affecting small tourist towns. It’s true that in order to effectively market a brand, product, or place, everything must be “instagrammable”. It’s effective, no doubt. Too effective that small brands or in the case of the Philippines, small towns are being affected.

Overtourism Makes Not So Positive Impact

The surge and influx of visitors have turned into over tourism. It’s not always the case for all tourist destinations in the country but we see the effects of too many travelers. For some towns or provinces, they’re not ready to accommodate that many tourists.

Small governments and businesses are not well-equipped to handle mass tourism, resulting in the quality of tourism suffering or prices going up. It’s not only “More Fun in the Philippines” but it’s also cheaper. Everything is cheap that’s why tourists like it there. Even if the prices increase, they’re still cheap for foreigners. But what’s cheap for the tourists may be expensive for the locals and that’s a problem.

Instagram Should Promote Sustainability

Marketing on Instagram is effective. It has helped many companies to grow. In the Philippines, tourism has leaped tremendously. The Philippines Islands are beautiful. There are many places to visit and thousands of tourist attractions to check out.

Tourism has been helping the economic development of the country but on a smaller scale, the country doesn’t have the right infrastructure to accommodate such success.

One perfect example was Boracay. Over-tourism has damaged the island and so it was closed for restoration for six months. It was an effective move by the government but resulted in higher prices compared to before.

There’s also the issue of waste management. You see, the more tourists, the more people generating trash and pollution each day. It’s a big issue being faced by resorts and towns.

The Need for a More Mindful Tourism

We’re not saying Instagram and those thousands of social media influencers are contributing to the decline of the quality of tourism. It’s just that there is a call now to be more mindful.

We don’t think anyone can stop information or images from spreading but it’s now up to the government and local municipalities to be more mindful of the tourism economy. At this point, plans for development must be discussed and set in place.