The Covid-19 pandemic has had an unprecedented impact on the tourism industry. With lockdowns, travel restrictions, self-isolation, and closures of borders, international tourism declined over 60-80%, domestic tourism around 75%, and 50 million jobs are at risk. A UN report also suggests that the hit will continue for the next three quarters in 2021.
Despite the pandemic, the advent of technology has enabled us to carry on with life in a remote setting. Just as Covid-19 has accelerated digital trends in different industries, the travel and tourism sector is no longer indifferent to digital technology’s significance in rebuilding the market.
Digital Technology & Tourism Industry
Digital technology and travel are a perfect match. Technology has helped the tourism industry expand its reach through travel blogs, videos, websites, and other travel-related content. It has changed the way an individual travels and plans their stay.
Travelling in the ongoing pandemic is frustrating, thanks to sudden cancellations, travel guidelines, and safety issues. However, deploying technology to ensure safety and hygiene can encourage vacationists to travel.
From providing digital immunity passports to providing virtual tours, businesses should use technology to ensure the travellers’ safety without compromising the user experience.
Top 4 Digital Trends the Tourism Industry Should Adopt in the Covid-19 Era
The impact of tech trends in tourism has been immense. There is a myriad of travel tools that have simplified travelling. Let’s now look into the top four digital techs that can revive the tourism industry:
1. Mobile Technology
In this 21st century, almost everyone uses a smartphone. Whether it’s a student looking to get programming assignment help or a traveller looking for currency information, a smartphone is a go-to option for all.
Mobile phones are an integral part of safe travelling. In the words of Henry Smithson of chicago referencing, “A smartphone is our tour planner, travel guide, map, food guide, and much more.”
You can download travel apps and stay updated on different country-wise travel rules and restrictions. Since there’s a higher chance of virus transmission from queuing, using apps to book slots for check-in, brooding, and collecting luggage can allow completing the process safely.
Not to mention, with digital apps, you can book tickets when you like and find the perfect hotel according to your budget. The apps give endless choices, from affordable airfare tickets to accommodation, so that you can customize your travel as you please, abiding by the travel rules and quarantine measures of a particular destination.
2. Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Robotics
When we talk about AI in the tourism industry, its main focus is direct messaging and chatbots. Although it responds to simple questions, the answers are pretty instantaneous.
Companies can also use AI messaging apps or chatbots to enable travellers to connect directly to calls, messages, or video chats and solve their issues quickly.
Robots are already known to improve user experience. Even though robotics is only at the beginning stage in the tourism industry, it will transform a traveller’s experience.
Countries like Japan and South Korea have already started integrating robotics into different sectors, including tourism. Now it’s only a matter of time when more countries will adopt it on a large scale.
3. Augmented Reality (AR) & Virtual Reality (VR)
AR and VR are growing in popularity for offering uninterrupted interactive user exercise at any time, from anywhere. The concept of virtual tourism has been in the talks for quite some time now, but since we are in the Covid-19 era where everything is done remotely, there’s no better time to experiment with remote tourism.
With these cutting-edge technologies, businesses can craft a human-centric design and create an interactive space to give the traveller a real-life experience.
Imagine viewing the Eiffel Tower from the comfort of your home just by using a joystick and VR goggles. Cool, right? You can interact with the locals through video-calling, walk through the Parisian streets, listen to French music, and so on. You can take pictures, talk to the street artists, and shop at the local stores and do the things you want to, just as you would in reality.
You can get all these experiences on one platform and visit different places around the globe without spending thousands of dollars with just a tap of a button. In addition, virtual tourism will also allow hoteliers, tourist guides, tour planners, and artisans to customise their offerings for the customers.
Many hotels globally use VR to give prospective visitors a sneak peek into their rooms, ambience, and surroundings. Furthermore, virtual tourism can be a better alternative to visit war-prone places. You can enjoy the place’s scenic beauty and learn about their culture without worrying about safety.
Fintech or financial technology is the “new kid” in the banking and finance sector, allowing users to carry out easy monetary transactions online without visiting the bank or paying any extra charges for money transfers. With Fintech, travellers no longer have to worry about money exchange for local currencies, as they can quickly do it on the digital platform from anywhere at the best rate.
Even though contactless payment has been here for a while now, it’s the pandemic and Covid-19 safety protocols that have made digital payment widely prevalent among travellers and non-travellers. Since there’s no handling of cards, IDs, and cash by the airport staff, hotel staff, or others, touchless technology has given confidence to the travellers to make travel plans to a new destination without worrying about safety.
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought the world to its knees. With millions of jobs lost and thousands of businesses shut, every sector is struggling to revive – and the travel and tourism sector is no exception.
However, digital technology can recover the damages and help the industry rise to its former glory. If experts’ predictions are believed, the industry will boom in 2022-2023 with massive bookings. But before that, we still have to follow the travel restrictions and do everything possible to break the virus chain.
Therefore, the tourism sector should adopt digital technologies such as AI, AR, VR, Fintech, Robotics, and mobile tech to offer an alternative solution to travel restrictions. They should take advantage of the technology to find innovative ways to fulfil travellers’ wanderlust until everything is normal again.
Suhana Williams is a blogger, tour guide and owns a travel agency in Sydney, Australia. She loves to travel, meet new people, and explore foreign lands. Apart from travelling and blogging, She is also a subject matter expert at MyAssignmenthelp.com, a reputed academic website where students seek geography, math, and Physics homework help from experts.