COVID-19 has disrupted many economic sectors, hurting businesses and employments alike. However, digitalization has saved the day for economic sectors like education and retail. With education moving to e-learning platforms and e-commerce picking up, these sectors have managed to sail through the pandemic. However, can digitalization save tourism, one of the worst affected by the pandemic?
We are slowly adapting to the new normal. However, the hit taken by the collective tourism sector will take a while to recover. The question then arises – how do we use technology to build sustainable and responsible tourism models?
Technology and Virtual Tourism
Technology is a great disrupter. However, it is also a great servant when harnessed well. Technology can make tourism more inclusive. It can do so by building stronger communities, along with efficient resource management.
Digital skills are as essential as basic education in this era of digital disruption. Reskilling and upskilling using digital skills is a choice many are making to stay relevant to the job market today. Especially after the employment crisis unleashed by COVID-19.
SkillUp Central is a Switzerland-based blended learning platform that offers courses on innovation, entrepreneurship and digital education. Sign up today for free courses to empower yourself with relevant and much-needed digital skills.
Let us look at how technology can contribute to tourism development.
Virtual Tours and Inclusive Tourism
Let us imagine that the pandemic is over. We are back to the old normal everyone is yearning for. If you had to travel around Europe, what are all the places making it to your list?
Paris, Florence, Amsterdam, Prague, Rome, Venice? These are the same names found on almost all bucket lists. In India, people are already making plans to visit Goa, Andamans, and Shimla once the pandemic gets over. Why are the same destinations repeated when people plan their trips?
These places are beautiful destinations, no doubt. But they have evolved as hubs of tourism in the past decades, attracting more and more travellers every year.
All tourism hubs have facilities like electricity supply, well-connected transport modes, WiFi access, access to cashless and online payment modes, and well-connected ATMs and bank branches. However, the same can’t be said about beautiful, rural destinations.
This is where technology comes to the rescue. Technology should be used to bring development to rural areas. This will attract tourists to these areas, help create job opportunities, and open avenues for further development. Also, this takes stress off the regular tourist hubs like Barcelona or Venice that were facing the negative consequences of mass tourism.
Sustainable Tourism and Development: Virtual Tourism
Have you heard about Shimla residents appealing to tourists to stop visiting the city back in 2018? Shimla, also called the Queen of the Hills, has been facing acute water scarcity since previous summers and that year was particularly bad due to lower rainfalls. Add to this the strain put by inbound travelers.
Tourism helps increase cash inflow to the destination location. It also creates employment opportunities for the local populations. However, the unbridled inflow of tourists puts an incredible amount of pressure on the local resources.
Organized and paid virtual tours can help tourists live the same experience virtually. Also, it will help reduce the pressure created on the local biodiversity of the destination.
Rural Development and Digitalization
Agriculture is the mainstay of rural areas. However, with lower economic returns, water scarcity, and scarce economic support from the government, agricultural opportunities are diminishing.
Rural development could translate into penetration of electricity, mobile and wireless networks, transport, and Internet connectivity, to rural areas. Moreover, this would help bring broader opportunities for rural youth. The growth of tourism in rural areas could bring to life new opportunities.
This would support the rural youth to stand on their feet instead of migrating to urban areas to earn a pittance. This would also bring back to life traditional arts and crafts and support rural economies from the brink of collapse.
This video will give you an idea of how prepared we are to tackle the next unemployment crisis. The widespread social problem of unemployment has received another blow because of COVID-19. Thus, reskilling and upskilling is essential in today’s time.
Liked the video? Show us some love by subscribing to our YouTube channel for more of such educational content. Do leave us a comment on what you want us to tell you about India!
Use Virtual Tours to Promote Unexplored Destinations
If you had to promote your city among people in your network, how would you do that? By putting across a piece of writing/video/photos of everything that your city offers you? Putting across everything to attract attention – food specialties, places to visit, the daily life rhythm?
This kind of promotion can be done by public and private sectors to promote small, unknown yet beautiful cities.
Meghalaya is one such rural tourism spot. Two tribes in this North Eastern state of India, have over centuries made bridges using fig tree roots. These bridges are ‘grown’ with years of patience and are crucial for connecting villages. This short video tells you how the Living Root Bridges have become a UNESCO heritage site.
Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the Bell icon for more such videos.