The impact of covid-19 on the Tourism sector
The emergence of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, affected all business and economy of the world at large, the ravaging effect and widespread effect of the pandemic led to countries adopting mitigation efforts to counter the spread of the virus. One of such efforts was the lockdown efforts which included an inter-country travel ban among other efforts used to curtail the virus.
Impact of the lockdown and travel ban on the Tourism sector
The emergence of the covid-19 and the shutdown has led to unprecedented crises in every sector globally. The tourism sector just like every other sector was heavily hit by the impact of the coronavirus which necessitated shutdowns and travel bans or restrictions, before the worldwide shutdown the tourism and travels sector is estimated to account for about US$8, trillion of the world’s GDP and created millions of jobs. When covid-19 came, shutdowns and travel ban policies were initiated as a mitigation effort against the virus. Tourism and travel sector jobs were lost. Hotels and resort jobs were lost as visitations dropped and as a result, staffs were laid-off, airline jobs were also lost. It was reported that airline companies around the world lost tens of billions of dollars resulting in layoffs of staff. This caused some world-renowned airlines to declare or file for bankruptcy and seeking a bailout from governments around the world.
What year could normal traveling and Tourism return?
With countries around the world returning to normalcy, and the cautious re-opening of activities of countries around the world, we may only hope normalcy in the Travel sector will return on time, but, according to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) analysis in June 2020, 2024 could be the year normal travels could return, but with vaccines now available and vaccinations programs going around the world, we can all hope it would be earlier.
How is the world of Tourism adapting to the covid-19 pandemic?
The effect of the shutdown has caused in-person restrictions in the outdoor and indoor environment, just like all other sectors went remote online, the tourism sector has been able to go remote through the use of virtual reality tourism.
Virtual reality tourism
Virtual reality tourism is a virtual or online simulated tour of a place or location from home or a faraway location using 3-dimensional imagery and videos with a multimedia play like narration, songs, and sound effects in use. This gives the tourist a 3-dimensional walk-through virtually with storytelling in play also and other multimedia effects. The use of virtual reality tourism serves as a cushion against the effect of the covid-19 pandemic.
Benefits of Virtual Reality Tourism
Virtual reality has tremendous use in the tourism sector even beyond the use as a cushion against the effect of the covid-19 pandemic. Here are some of the advantages;
The use of Virtual reality provides a medium for creativity and uniqueness:
Tourist organizations now have the opportunity of projecting their uniqueness and creativity in virtual reality tourism. They can incorporate the latest high technology advancement into their virtual reality adventure. For example, the Circus team produced a virtual reality tour of Florida with a 180-degree high definition with Dolby sound which produces a 3-dimensional experience. It is situated in prominent places like malls in the United Kingdom. This project has successfully been able to attract hundreds of people per day.
Other virtual reality tourist attractions in the UK include the Science Museum which is a very popular virtual reality location, it produces stunning 360-degree high definition images, and also the Royal opera house which produces high-quality 360-degree virtual tours. So with virtual reality tourism, tourist attractions and sites could be distinguished by their quality.
Virtual reality tour provides a new sensational experience for the tourist
Virtual reality tourism provides a new form of sensational and inspirational experience to tourist with innovative new technology that thrills the tourist, this provides a form of motivation for tourism, as a result, boosting the interest of people in tourism. Countries around the world are in this new technology of virtual reality so as provide a new experience for tourists that would stimulate and boost the country’s tourism sector.
Boosting tourism and improving tourist confidence in the post-covid-19 pandemic era.
Virtual reality will help boost tourism in the post the covid-19 era by providing and increasing the urge of tourists that enjoyed the virtual tour of the facility or location. Virtual tourism was not designed to replace real experience but exposure to a virtual tour of a facility may trigger the interest of the tourists to come-in person, for a live experience. Virtual reality would play a big role in assuring tourists about safety. This would be done by virtual simulations of safety protocols not only covid-19 safety protocol but also other forms of safety protocols, the virtual simulations of these protocols would boost and reassure tourists about their safety.
Raises the level of accessibility to facilities that provides public education
With virtual reality tourism facilities that provide public education can now provide a greater level of accessibility, such that restricted places cannot be accessed using a virtual tour. The virtual reality tour of the Palace of Westminster has increased the interest of tourists to the location by providing a greater level of access to the Palace of Westminster, places normally restricted by in-person tour can now be accessed by the virtual reality walk-through of the Palace.
Can we in any way say virtual reality tourism has kicked-off? The answer is no doubt, yes!!!
The emergence of the covid-19 pandemic in this year 2020 has without any doubt accelerated the adoption of virtual reality tourism all around the world. We might safely say virtual reality tour as a form of tourism is here to stay.
Furthermore, big tech corporations have begun investing and researching virtual reality tourism to introduce new technology that would facilitate the adoption of virtual reality tourism worldwide as a form of tourism by making virtual reality exciting and inspiring. This would increase the audience and in the process make the tourism sector more accessible.