According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), 95% of the world’s tourists are concentrated in 5% of the land mass. This is not without risks: saturation, pressure on infrastructure, difficult cohabitation. Experts point out that virtual reality experiences help solve this problem.
Virtual reality and tourism are two concepts that go together. Indeed, while some destinations are fighting against mass tourism, many territories remain without visitors. But since the coronavirus pandemic, travelers have favored domestic tourism and less frequented regions. According to the World Travel & Tourism Council, this fashion trend since summer 2020 will persist in the short term. In this regard, new technologies, in particular virtual reality, can help to strengthen the attractiveness of these areas sometimes neglected.
A study focused on the Egyptian city from El Minya. It ranks third in the classification of places rich in monuments. There are Pharaonic, Greco-Roman and Islamic buildings, as well as museums and castles. Visitors appreciate the alternation of magnificent landscapes between urban sites, agricultural land and deserts.
Despite its strengths, the place remains under-visited. In 2019, a quantitative study was carried out among 341 nationals. The objective was to identify the conditions of effectiveness of the virtual experience of this region for y promote tourism. Each participant explored one of the 6 versions of the websites created for El Minya.
The results show that tourists appreciate the virtual reality experiences before choosing a destination. Interactive videos and 3D virtual tours trigger positive emotional states. They positively influence the perceived value of the destination and increase visit intention. Conversely, sites showing only 2D photos generated little desire to visit the destination.
Virtual reality technology, an impressive tool for sustainable tourism
Semi-structured interviews made it possible to determine the reasons for the preference for virtual tours. Here are just a few:
“With 3D, you travel on the site without leaving your home”.
“Thanks to 3D, things are more “concrete“, As if they were real”
“The 3D tours are very useful because you can imagine yourself doing the available activities. If I feel happy during this online experience, I will certainly be when I arrive at my destination ”.
It is difficult to predict tourist behavior after the health crisis. But it seems essential for the sector to capitalize on recent changes in behavior and move towards increased use of digital technology.
Many countries have policies and plans in place to develop a sustainable tourism by 2030. “Under-tourism” has even become a tactic that is attracting increasing interest from traders. This is to encourage travelers tired of crowded destinations to choose less frequented tourist destinations as an alternative. Most experts confirm that the virtual reality is an effective way to do this.