VR may help Tourism Recover Post-COVID, World Economic Forum Says

Virtual Reality (VR) Is Becoming the Next Holidaymaking Tool for the Embattled Tourism Industry

The global tourism industry could recover after the coronavirus pandemic with technologies such as virtual and augmented reality (AR/VR), the World Economic Forum said in a recent report.

The WEF added “human-centric” designs inspired by cognitive behaviour, social psychology, neuroscience and behavioural economics could become a “game-changer” when applied with emerging technologies such as AR/VR as well as mixed reality.

According to the Cologney, Switzerland-based organisation, AR/VR/MR technologies could build a “seamless, uninterrupted interactive experience” for users to boost the tourism industry.

The news comes as revenues for the global tourism industry nosedived 87 percent in January compared with the previous year, United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) figures revealed.

Anu Pillai, Digital Transformation Leader fin Engineering, Construction, Operations and Airports, Domain and Consulting at Wipro, said “Digital tools and content are a vital source of information for vacationists organizing their next holiday or creating a destination wish list. Whilst remote or virtual tourism has been a futuristic theme within industry forums for some time, the world today, shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, might now be ready to accept it

She explained the travel industry would “prevail” after the pandemic, but stressed the aviation and tourism sectors must build safer infrastructure and practices to secure travellers.

Pillai also urged tourism business owners to seek alternative means of interacting with holidaymakers to boost economies and workers relying on tourism.

The report cited several major projects in the tourism industry such as Mission 828, where tourists can virtually skydive from the Burj Khalifa in Dubai—the world’s tallest building—and other innovations.

The news comes as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced global institutions to rollout test and trace programmes to control new cases of the virus. Businesses have also worked to meet skyrocketing demand for remote working by turning to numerous telecommunications apps.

An XR Today report in December found that tourists would increasingly seek out unconventional ways to travel during national lockdowns, with extended reality (XR) technologies leading the new market.

According to a study cited by the report, tourists would continue to see “hedonic” experiences amid the pandemic, despite limited capabilities to travel, and the desire to go on holiday would remain.

The VR market was also expected to top 20.9 billion USD by 2025, with travel and tourism rapidly becoming a major vertical market for the industry, the findings concluded.

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