From the multitude of incredible personal advantages to the economic benefits enjoyed by local communities, there is a myriad of reasons that we think tourism is a wonderful thing. Travel broadens the mind, allowing people to immerse themselves in new cultures and discover the diverse history and cultural heritage that can be found throughout the world. For local communities, tourism drives job opportunities, supports industry and has a positive effect on the local economy.
Celebrated by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation on September 27th since 1980, World Tourism day seeks to further raise awareness about the important role of tourism around the world, highlighting the positive social, cultural, political and economic effects of travelling for leisure. While celebrations will take place across the globe, this year, World Tourism Day will officially be hosted by Budapest, Hungary. Following the theme of "Tourism and the Digital Transformation", there are a number of planned events and informative talks which seek to raise awareness about the importance of digital technologies within the tourism sector.
Digital technologies are constantly evolving, and as a result inform the way we live our lives. In recent years, social media channels such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have successfully woven their way into the fabric of our day to day lives, changing the way we see the world and interact with one another. Today we are sharing more of our lives than ever and, as our families and friends fill our news feeds and social media apps with inspirational travel content, far-flung tourist destinations seem closer and more accessible than ever before.
All of this has got us thinking about travel photography. While travel photography itself is nothing new - in fact, the practice dates back to the 1850s - there is no denying that it has flourished in the digital era. But where are the most photographed tourist attractions in the world? According to data collated by Instagram, based on photos shared to the app in 2017, these are the top four:
1. Disneyland, California, USA
The happiest place on earth, Walt Disney's Disneyland in Anaheim, California can now also boast the accolade of the most photographed! An undisputed hive of magic and merriment, Disneyland is an instantly recognisable, family-friendly destination quite unlike any other. From the extravagant nightly firework shows and daily parades through the pastel-toned, vintage 'Main Street, USA', to its immersive theme park rides and iconic attractions that evoke warming feelings of nostalgia, this captivating land of enchantment has delighted millions since its opening in 1955.
Where to get the best photo: Sleeping Beauty Castle
The centrepiece of Fantasyland, this emblematic structure is one of the most instantly recognisable in the world. Based on the real-life Bavarian castle, Neuschwanstein, the photogenic Sleeping Beauty Castle is noted for its pink tones, elegant blue turrets and whimsical surrounding landscaping.
2. Times Square, New York, USA
Home to flashing lights, enormous billboards, flagship restaurants and some of the greatest theatres in the world, the inimitable Times Square epitomises the city that never sleeps. And while the hustle and bustle of Times Square may mean it's not a favourite spot for many native New Yorkers, it's almost an unspoken rule that tourists must brave the crowds and noise in order to experience this bright, bustling, unforgettable neon wonderland first hand.
Where to get the best photo: TKTS steps
Head to Duffy Square at the north end of Times Square. Here, from the iconic red staircase that houses the TKTS theatre ticket booth, you will find a fantastic vantage point from which to view and photograph the excitement of Times Square.
3. Central Park, New York, USA
A tranquil oasis away from the furore of the city, Central Park offers over 800 acres of trees, gardens, lakes, flowers and sprawling open space. With a popular zoo, boating lake and even its own castle - Belvedere Castle, which sits perched atop Vista Rock at one of the highest elevations in the park - visitors can easily spend an entire day getting lost amongst nature.
Where to get the best photo: Gapstow Bridge
Built in 1896, the beautiful Gapstow Bridge is found at 62nd Street in Central Park, at the northern end of the pond. Offering wonderful views of the juxtaposition of nature and cityscape (when facing south, New York's iconic skyscrapers can be seen rising from above the trees), this is the ideal place to capture a photograph which perfectly encapsulates the beauty and diversity of New York City.
4. Eiffel Tower, Paris, France
It is of little surprise that the magnificent Eiffel Tower is part this list. An iconic Parisian landmark and enduring symbol of romance, the elegant, wrought iron lattice structure has towered over the romantic streets of Paris since 1889. In that time, it has become a global cultural icon of France, epitomising the romance, sophistication and beauty for which the country is so renowned.
Where to get the best photo: Champ de Mars
For a quintessential Parisian photograph, enjoy a stroll up the Champs de Mars - the beautifully manicured gardens at the base of the Eiffel Tower. Here, you can walk, relax, or perhaps enjoy a picnic while soaking up the unbelievable views of what is undoubtedly one of the most famous landmarks in the world.