The top spots to get a likeable Instagram shot in our region
THE moment a Netherlands MTV star jumped to his feet on a foam board while learning to surf at Agnes Water is the latest image to throw the coastal town into the online spotlight.
The music channel presenter Rijk Hofman's photo of his time at Agnes Water was liked by 7420 people, attracting views and comments from followers around the world.
Gladstone Area Promotion Development Limited chief executive officer Darryl Branthwaite said it was the latest example of why social media's influence on the tourism industry should not be underestimated.
Travel specialists Big 7 released a list of Queensland's most Instagrammable attractions, with Whitehaven Beach taking out the top spot.
While the Gladstone Region missed out on a placing, The Observer has found our region's most-liked places on the social networking site.
Using Instagram's 'top posts' for selected regions, it found photos tagged with Agnes Water's location attracted the most likes, with nine of the top posts liked by 10,580 users.
An image shared by European athlete Gabriel Heen on Monday of his time learning to surf was liked 709 times.
Coming in second was Heron Island, with the nine most popular photos snapped at the Great Barrier Reef Island attracting 7990 likes.
The most-liked image was an aerial photo of the island taken by Gladstone photographer Mark Fitz.
Rural neighbour Raglan came in at a surprise third, with an American YouTuber attracting thousands of eyes to his image taken as the moon rose over hills.
Evane Dinger, who is followed by 154,000 people, had almost 6000 likes on his image.
Mr Branthwaite said the company's social media strategy was a huge part of how it marketed the region to potential tourists.
"Instagram helps to inspire people to come here,” he said.
Mr Branthwaite said GAPDL funds social media 'influencers' to visit the region and post photos and comments about their stay.
"It becomes quite powerful. We've had journalists and bloggers here from the likes of Blue Planet and BBC,” he said.
"Two of them had 1.5 million followers each, so the amount of power and authority and leverage these people have is pretty incredible.”
But with bare-skinned, bikini clad millennials becoming increasingly influential on Instagram, Mr Branthwaite said the tourism business was as focused as ever on nature-based photography.
"We want to capture the natural scene,” he said.
"They can use a model, because sometimes people look at photos and they think they want to be that person in that photo but the place needs to be the main focus.”
Mr Branthwaite said GAPDL was working on a social media campaign for the Agnes Water and Seventeen Seventy region after the recent bushfires caused some tourists to cancel their stay.
Tourism and Events Queensland chief executive Leanne Coddington said the state's unique natural landscapes were picture-perfect for the Instagram faithful.
"Queensland has some of the world's most awe-inspiring natural beauty and a diversity of experiences you can't get anywhere else,” she said.
"Whitehaven Beach is world-renowned for its white sand and clear water, Cape Tribulation's untouched natural beauty has to be seen to be believed and Fraser Island continues to be one of our more popular destinations.
"Social media and word of mouth is vital in spreading our tourism message so it is great to see these destinations being shared on Instagram.”
QUEENSLAND'S 7 WONDERS
1. Whitehaven Beach, Whitsundays
2. Cape Tribulation, far north Queensland
3. Lake Wabby, Fraser Island
4. Fairy Pools, Noosa
5. Atherton Tablelands waterfalls, far north Queensland
6. Cardwell Spa Pools, north Queensland
7. Great Barrier Reef
- Big 7s list of Queensland's most Instagrammable attractions.
Gladstone's 10 wonders
1 - Agnes Water, 10,580 likes
2 - Heron Island, 7990 likes
3 - Facing Island, 7645 likes
4 - Raglan, 6885 likes
5 - Tondoon Botanic Gardens, 4822 likes
6 - Tannum Sands, 3294 likes
7 - Spinnaker Park, 2300 likes
8 - Paperbark Forest Boardwalk, Agnes Water, 2130 likes
9 - Blackmans Gap, 2075 likes
10 - Deepwater National Park, 2064 likes
- Gladstone list based on the number of likes on the nine most popular photos for each location.