Never before has tourism found such a perfect match like the Augmented Reality one. In fact, tourism was one of the few domains where technology was slowly going underground. It was found in the research done pre-visit, it was highly incorporated in online reservations and the hotel database keeping and it insured a smooth informational path along the way. However, the actual consumption process of sightseeing, relaxing on a cruise or experimenting local cuisine was done in a non technological, old fashion manner, until recently.
The future has been knocking on tourism’s door lately and the update is spectacular. You can practically make reservations after actually seeing the hotel you are checking in at. You can see a virtual tour of the places you will be visiting, whether they are museums or white sandy beaches, before even stepping foot on the actual ground that hosts them. You can do sightseeing and find out more information that you would get from reading a whole book on the place that you are visiting. And moreover, you can practically do this up in the air, on the ground and under the water, at your choice, any time of the year, unrestricted by any weather conditions.
Yes, the world of tourism surely took a toll. Several cities around the world are offering VR tours around town. Seville, Paris and Amsterdam are just the very first of them all. Here you can choose to be guided by something other than the casual touristic guide. Younger visitors in particular, for whom a historical tour is still somewhat too reminiscent of school, are definitely more likely to be beguiled by AR tours.
Tourism Augmented Reality – the future
And this is only the beginning of it all. Several aspects of VR are just starting to develop. Such potential expansion routes include a gamification of travel and the usage of tourist augmented reality for practical information. More distant encounters promise to be the Wiki AR, Google’s Glass and AR travel shopping now only available in airports.
Should tourism augmented reality continue to grow in popularity, the travel industry is likely to be at the forefront of its applications. As marketing, selling, and information-providing tool, AR fits with the travel industry arguably more than any other. But to what extent will consumers adopt AR? The question is still to be answered.