Conversely, many territories also remain deprived of the benefits of tourism. However, they seem to be taking advantage of the health crisis. Since the appearance of the new coronavirus, travelers have favored domestic tourism and uncrowded areas. Search for authentic experiences in the heart of nature and outdoor activities, were acclaimed in the summer of 2020.
In France, for example, the department of Aveyron recorded a 14% increase tourist attendance in July, compared to 2019; in the Creuse, frequentation of French families has jumped 23%.
According to World Travel & Tourism Council, these trends will persist in the short term. This new interest on the part of tourists opens up prospects for areas that have hitherto been little frequented. In this regard, our work suggests that new technologies can enable them to boost their attractiveness.
Monuments, landscapes, but low attendance …
Our study focused on the Egyptian city of El Minya which occupies the third place, after Luxor and El Giza, in the classification of places rich in monuments. There are Pharaonic, Greco-Roman, Islamic and Coptic buildings as well as museums and castles. Visitors also enjoy the alternation of magnificent landscapes between urban sites, farmland and desert, which can be traveled by boat on the Nile.
Despite these advantages, advertising in Egypt and abroad on the governorate of El Minya remains non-existent and the place remains little frequented.
Our quantitative survey was conducted in 2019 with 341 people of Egyptian nationality, in order to identify the conditions of effectiveness of living a virtual experience of the place to decide individuals to go there.
Each of the respondents visited one of the six versions of the websites created for El Minya. These differed only by their degree of interactivity and liveliness. From Pictures or videos or 3D virtual tours for tourist attractions were sometimes included.
Live the atmosphere
It turns out that tourists seem to enjoy having a virtual experience before choosing a destination.
Of course, the experience may vary from one individual to another: personal characteristics (for example, preference for visual information, involvement in travel, familiarity with technology, etc.) influence the intensity of this experience. . A trend emerges, however.
By creating a “telepresence” experience, interactive videos and 3D virtual tours trigger positive emotional states, positively influence the perceived value of the destination and increase visit intention. Conversely, sites that only show 2D photos aroused little desire to visit the destination.
To go further, semi-structured interviews made it possible to identify the reasons for the preference for virtual tours. Different advantages were highlighted by the respondents:
“With 3D, you travel around the site without leaving your home. “
“3D shows us everything that will happen on site. Thanks to 3D, things are more concrete, as if they were real. “
“The 3D tours are very useful, because you can imagine yourself practicing the available activities. If I feel happy during this online experience, of course I will visit this destination. “
Making you feel the sensations of a walk in the middle of nature, on the sea, in a rural environment or living the atmosphere of the production of local products thanks to 360 ° videos or 3D tours thus facilitate decision-making.
The use of such tools is growing and according to a bloomberg report, published on February 13, 2020, virtual reality and augmented reality products will represent a global market of more than $ 571.42 billion by 2025.
Even if it is difficult to predict the behavior of tourists after the health crisis, it seems essential for the sector to capitalize on the recent evolution of behavior and to move in the direction of an increasing use of digital technology.
Sales of virtual reality tools are currently on the rise. They reflect the growing interest of global tourists in immersive experiences and open up new perspectives for uncrowded tourist destinations.
Many countries now have policies and plans in place to develop the sustainable tourism by 2030. the “Under-tourism” has even become a tactic attracting increasing interest from marketers. This is to encourage travelers tired of crowded destinations to choose less frequented tourist destinations as an alternative. Our work shows that virtual reality appears to be an effective means to achieve this end.
Yasmine Hashish, PHD- Lecturer at Faculty of Mass Communication, Cairo University, Cairo University and Marie-Christine Lichtlé, University Professor, University of Montpellier
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read theoriginal article.
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