Digital Tourism
12 May

Digital Tourism: Today’s More Accessible World

Most people equate tourism to traveling, but the internet has offered a new possibility to wannabe travelers by bringing other countries to your living room and personal device. Companies are experimenting with their offerings and content to share with individuals. So is it possible to travel without traveling?

Digital tourism offers travelers the ability to get an often 360-degree digital tour of the place they want to see in real life without actually going. This is powerful because it opens up a world of possibilities for individuals with mobility issues.

While digital tourism often refers to the tools that travelers use to prepare and manage their personal travel experience, it’s also offering a tourist experience that occurs before, during, and after traveling. Sometimes this means an app that tracks their itinerary and connects travelers to the right resources, from hotels to transportation to digital tour guides. Digital tourism includes travel websites, travel management sites, photography platforms, and more. 

The beauty of digital tourism is that it allows travelers to do a lot of preparation before traveling, which means that individuals with disabilities can ensure that their hotel, transportation, and activities will meet their needs. 

Tourism on its own is a vital facet of a country’s economy, and certain destinations depend almost wholly on tourism. To build on the opportunity of tourism, digital platforms can only offer more to travelers, from storing travel tickets and itineraries on mobile devices to making purchases via your mobile device rather than with money. 

Other apps will allow travelers to experience an augmented reality (AR) of cities and travel destinations to share interesting and historical facts.

Being Social Digitally

Travel has become even more social with social media apps, and many people choose their trips based on the choices of other social media users. According to research commissioned by EasyJet on the behavior of tourists from ages 18 to 68, 55% of the respondents booked their travel based on images viewed on Instagram. Travelers are looking for the perfect photo spot, and Instagram highlights those destinations.

For example, Norway’s Trolltunga, a rock formation, was largely unknown to travelers, with a record of only 1,000 people visiting in 2009. By January 2019, Instagram had over 100,000 photos with the Trolltunga hashtag.

Digital connection can impact travelers to choose destinations that they may have never considered before when they’re planning their travels.

In Portland, Oregon, City Shoppe — the premier e-commerce platform — has committed to digital tourism and business by creating an online shopping center for specific cities that highlights small and local businesses. The idea was to allow people to have a shopping experience at quirky shops that they usually would only have access to if they traveled to a specific city. People who want to travel to Austin, Texas; Portland, Oregon; or Brooklyn, New York can now still shop at any of these cities. This is digital tourism at its finest.

Many websites offer panoramic virtual tours of historic locations, interesting cities, and more. And with the right tools, this way of traveling can be made more amazing, such as using VR headsets to make people feel genuinely present within a digitally created environment. This could change the hotel industry and travel destinations by teasing guests with great experiences before they even arrive.

Digital tourism includes virtual tours, which means that sites previously inaccessible for individuals with disabilities are now easily visited virtually. Travelers who have been confined by mobility abilities can virtually explore famous and historic sites alike from their homes. This also means that people who are nervous about traveling can explore from home too.

Augmented reality offers an excellent way for tourists to better explore real-life environments with a handheld tour guide that offers interactive information about cities. Some hotels incorporate AR with wall maps so that users can find more information rapidly when pointing their phone at the map. AR allows tourists to point their phones at restaurants or attractions and receive information about the location from menus and reviews to historical facts.

Moreover, augmented reality has the capacity to enhance surroundings outside of the hotel too. This could allow visitors to point their phone at a restaurant to find reviews, or point their phone at an old building and see it as it would have appeared many years ago, which can be especially valuable when looking at ruins or older attractions.

The world of travel is changing, and the digital options for exploration and discovery could lead the way for your next adventure.

At StrongGo, we believe in building a more accessible world, and we do that with our TekWay detectable warning dome tiles. Talk to an industry expert today to find out how we can help your project be aesthetically pleasing and ADA compliant.