A series of influencers also helped make it happen, tourism authorities say.

south island nz
Credit: Getty Images

New Zealand’s South Island is home to stunning landscapes, sommelier-worthy wine, and luxurious nature-inspired resorts. So it’s no surprise that tourism is booming. But it’s not all of these amenities that are sparking interest from visitors; tourism authorities say recent growth in visits is due in large part to Instagram.

Lake Wanaka Tourism reached out to social media influencers in 2015 to share photos of the island as part of a new marketing approach. "We've done everything from Insta-meets, when you get a whole lot of people coming together to take photos to put on Instagram, to hosting influencers from around the world," general manager James Helmore said on the website Stuff.co.nz. "[Influencers] come across as very credible and authentic, as opposed to looking at an advert you know is being paid for by a company or a region."

Instagrammers are even taking pictures in more remote areas of New Zealand, too. Emilie Ristevski posted pictures from Lake Rotoiti on the West Coast and Lindis Pass in Central Otago.

The strategy seems to be working. For the second year in a row, the South Island broke records beating the North Island nearly two to one in the number of “guest nights” (overnight stays at a hotel, motel, backpacker, or holiday park from a tourist).