It’s hard to deny that social media has had a dramatic impact on the way we experience the world around us. But there are very few industries where social media has had a bigger impact than tourism. 

Beautiful photos and videos of places around the world fill our social feeds – prompting us to book tickets, grab our bags (and a few friends), and catch flights to the world’s top destinations.

Believe it or not, the genius and wonder behind a lot of the photos you see on social media are the destinations themselves – tourism accounts whose main responsibility is to get people to visit!

Today we’re breaking down the 5 best tourism social media accounts and why they’re a tier above the rest.

1. Travel Alberta

Deep in the heart of Canada lies one of the most beautiful destinations on earth, Alberta.

But when you’re competing with hundreds of other spectacular places to visit, you have to bring something special to social media. The Travel Alberta tourism account uses YouTube to attract and inspire:

More than 16,000 subscribers to their channel and 1,000,000 views to their YouTube videos prove that you don’t just have to rely on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to be successful on social media.

2. VisitCalifornia

It’s hard enough to grow your social media following if you’re a celebrity or top brand, let alone a tourism account. 

But VisitCalifornia defies all odds with over 2,000,000 followers across all of their social media accounts, 340K on Instagram alone. Most of this success is due to the incredible success of the #VisitCalifornia hashtag: 

Running a quick search with Meltwater shows that the #VisitCalifornia hashtag generates more than 150 media mentions on a weekly basis – that’s 600+ per month!

tourism social media

3. VisitSLO

Along the Central Coast of California lies a small, hidden gem of a city called San Luis Obispo. With a population of less than 100K, much of the city’s income is generated from tourism. That means getting people to San Luis Obispo is a top priority for the VisitSLO tourism social media accounts.

What makes Visit SLO’s accounts so great is that they make you feel like you are a part of the city itself by harnessing the power of user-generated content:

But these aren’t big influencers San Luis Obispo is creating content with, they’re local photographers, creators, and artists that have a firsthand look at life in this beautiful city.

If you’re looking to inspire people on social media, post content that is highly-relatable and evokes emotion. Emotions like awe, wonder, wanderlust, love, and nostalgia are powerful ways to influence an audience.

4. Tourism New Zealand

Not that people need any more of a reason to travel to New Zealand, but one tourism account that utilizes a variety of social media tactics to engage their audience is Tourism New Zealand.

Tourism New Zealand’s Director of Marketing Andrew Fraser says that social media is now the key channel for the “word of mouth” style endorsement that is actively sought by travelers.

“Our own research shows that the endorsement of friends and family is still the most compelling factor in helping potential visitors make travel decisions.”

What I love about the @purenewzealand Instagram account is their use of Instagram Stories and Stories Highlights. No matter what time of day you visit their social media accounts, you’re able to explore New Zealand via photos, short clips, and full videos.

5. VisitSingapore

Many brands and businesses have a memorable tagline. 

Something that you’ll remember long after you’ve visited their website or checked out their social media profiles. 

The tourism account VisitSingapore utilizes their own unique tagline across social media in order to give visitors a wonderful sense of what they’re all about: Passion Made Possible.

If you’ve ever been to Singapore, you know that this line nearly perfectly describes the city – it feels like something out of the future! 

VisitSingapore captures and shares that feeling over and over again on social media through original and curated content.

3 Key Takeaways from the Best Tourism Social Media Accounts

Tourism accounts are selling a product and that product is the destination itself. And there is a lot we can learn.

1. User-generated content helps to tell a story through the eyes of real people. It’s authentic, inspiring, and can spark true emotion on social media.

2. At the end of the day, it’s all about the quality of your social media content. You’re competing with the best brands in the world on social media and so you have to bring everything you have to the table.

3. Experiment with different forms of media across multiple social media channels. Videos, Stories, YouTube, Highlights, GIFs, and more can and should be used in your social media strategy

You know the photogenic places, the unique stories, and the off the beaten path experiences that travelers love. Now is the time to share that information.