Let’s make full use of virtual tourism: Jayachandran

virtual reality

I am sure the impact of the killer virus Covid-19 has created sleepless nights for millions of people around the globe. The most devastated sectors – tourism and travel – are at a standstill.

But it is not the time to find fault or beg for financial packages from governments, which are looking only to save millions of lives.

Kerala’s tourism industry leaders had sought financial but I felt it was too early and had no backing of data. Many of them were excited when the word “moratorium” without understanding the financial burden which will add up later.

I would like to take this opportunity to draw the attention of the “real ” tour operators who are actively involved in developing and upgrading the tourism products. Let’s start looking around and see what we can do, ensuring the safety and confidence of the people and still make them experience travel. You can still make your money…transacting from home these days is just child’s play.

What will destinations—and stuck-at-home travelers—do in the meantime? For people who love traveling, you might just have to get used to taking a trip virtually. And for popular places, this could be a chance to invest in technology to help manage over-tourism when the crowds do return.

Virtual reality tours

Even as people try to curb the spread of the virus by staying at home, many of us still have the urge to travel. When stuck at home in the lock down, virtual reality tours will help us reduce stress. Luckily, many destinations have turned to virtual reality and 360-degree content to inspire and attract travelers over the last several years. For people stuck at home, that kind of content will be especially welcome right now.

The whole world is shocked at the devastation due to the pandemic. But remember better days are ahead. Destinations and travel businesses should not be scared of this. They should embrace it, support and encourage people, which could be as simple as pointing them towards online resources like webcams at watering holes in national parks, free virtual museums, and Google arts and culture VR films. Several Chinese attractions are already taking advantage of technology to offer virtual tours in the wake of the corona virus.

So my recommendation to our travel professionals is to keep engaging in their work using the online tools. Reach out to your clients who are stuck at home. Entertain them without drawing them to the risk of travelling at the moment.

Think positive and strive forward. The business of tomorrow is yours, if you take advantage of the present challenges.

(The author is V.G. Jayachandran, CEO of Tour Designers, Trivandrum)