IT has been immortalised in song and has regularly appeared on the big screen in various Hollywood blockbusters.

But the island of Skye has now become a huge hit on the social media site Instagram after research showed it is the top European road trip destination with nearly double the hits of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

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Analysis of 47 million social media posts across the globe was carried out to uncover the world’s road trip habits and most-favoured travel destinations.

It found that Skye had almost 21,000 posts, looking at destinations used with the hashtag #roadtrip, by comparison the Eiffel Tower only had 12,463.

Scotland in general proved popular with road trippers with #glencoe and #lochness also appearing in the top 10 of #roadtrip posts, in fourth and eighth place respectively.

Skye hashtags #fairypools #oldmanofstorr #portree and #eileandonancastle also feature among the top 50 words associated with road trips in the 10 most popular European countries.

The list of road trip hotspots was compiled for car hire company Europcar by analysing more than 47 million social media posts from across Instagram between 2016 and 2017.

The data has been put into a new road trip guide, which highlights the main points of interest and sights that can be found along the world’s best road-trip routes. The guide is illustrated throughout with real Instagram images so that visitors can take inspiration.

Their main brief was improving access to tourist spots made famous on Instagram.

Skye has been in the grip of a tourism boom in recent years, partly as a result of heavy promotion as a holiday destination, as well as its popularity as a film location.

But fears have been growing on the island that its growing popularity has a downside, with concerns that Skye now has one Airbnb on offer for every 10 homes and medical services are under increasing pressure.

The influx of about 500,000 holidaymakers a year has led to complaints its infrastructure is struggling to cope, with cars and camper vans crammed on single track roads near the Old Man of Storr and the Fairy Pools in Glen Brittle, creating hazards for other road users.

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Last year there were complaints about staffing medical shifts on the island because so many part-time nurses are involved in the holiday business.

Broadcaster CNN also last year caused a stir by claiming that the island should be a place to avoid due to too many tourists, particularly at hotspots such as The Fairy Pools and the rocky Old Man of Storr, which is featured in many films and adverts.

Skye tourism businesses alarmed at reports the island is being swamped by tourists issued an open letter stressing it is “well and truly open for business”.

More than 150 operators took the “unprecedented” step “in a bid to balance sensationalist reporting about tourism pressures on the island”.

A recent survey of people living on Skye has found that few locals regard the influx of tourists as a problem and many instead appear to be in favour of introducing a tax on visitors that would be used to improve infrastructure.

An accommodation or local road tax could put the island on a par with Edinburgh, where city councillors have been keen to introduce a tourism levy to help raise funds to pay for visitor-related infrastructure and services.

Initial findings of the year-long survey aimed at gauging feelings towards tourism on the island suggest many Skye residents are far less bothered about tourists – many in cars and unfamiliar with the etiquette of single-track driving – than had been previously thought.

Rather, the online survey findings suggest they are far more concerned about improving the island’s basic infrastructure to help make their stay more pleasant and tackling issues such as dangerous driving.

The survey asked residents what they believe to be the main issues facing the island as a result of tourism. Just three per cent of respondents felt there were too many tourists, while 1% cited “moaning incomers”.

Meanwhile, 30% of respondents said dangerous driving was the island’s major issue, with most highlighting the lack of facilities and infrastructure.

In the past, there have been calls for the island to be designated a Unesco World Heritage site to attract funding and suggestions it should receive a special financial deal from the Scottish Government in recognition of its economic contribution. Tourism on the island is said to be worth £145 million a year.

SkyeConnect chairman Dave Till said the survey supports the message more public investment is desperately needed.

He said: “The visitor and residents’ survey work provides us with hard evidence of the urgency of our case. Through the work of the task force we are starting to see progress with projects such as the Fairy Pools carpark.

“However, we have received dozens of exciting and innovative infrastructure project proposals, and we need the public investment to make them happen to secure a sustainable future for not just our vital tourism sector, but for everyone who lives and works on Skye.”