Online Tourism Adapts to Changes

2:17:58 PM | 28/4/2020

Applying advanced technologies to online tourism is considered a matter of interest for those seeking opportunities and building new approaches for future sustainable development.

The tourism industry of the world, including Vietnam, is adversely affected by the Covid-19 epidemic as almost all operations are being crippled. However, difficulties and challenges induced by the disease also changed the world's tourism industry in a new way.

Faced with the cancellation of the Cherry Blossom Festivals in Japan, South Korea and the United States, Japan shifted to apply online tourism to help tourists to visit and experience the events via smart devices in the best manner. In addition, the fact that more than 2,500 renowned museums and opera houses cooperated with Google Arts and Culture is also a good example of the online application to introduce free virtual tours to the public through digital applications. This affirmed great advertising effects. In particular, the Guardian, a famous British publication, introduced Son Doong Cave (in Quang Binh province, Vietnam) to the list of 10 virtual reality tours worth visiting in the world. This attracted great interest of tourists exploring the landscape through the display of smart devices. This is showing that the world tourism industry has adapted to changes caused by the Covid-19 epidemic.

In Vietnam, online tourism has been promoted amid the Industry 4.0 boom, by many famous travel websites like Amazing Vietnam, Lonely Planet and TripAdvisor. During the Covid-19 epidemic breakout, as physical facilities have to shut down, thousands of businesses have focused and stepped up online tourism to keep their business running.

Mr. Le Xuan Kieu, Director of Van Mieu - Quoc Tu Giam Cultural and Scientific Activity Center, said, the center has launched the “360-degree tour” on the website to help visitors to learn about monuments no matter where they are. During this time of pandemic, the monument has been temporarily closed and the center has switched to online promotion through YouTube channel. News and photos are updated regularly to attract tourists.

Many businesses have applied technology to bring tourists to destinations outside Hanoi. Although physical tourism activities in Lan Ha Bay (Hai Phong) and Ha Long Bay (Quang Ninh) have to be paused, online tourism, launched via websites of tourism companies, is still quite active.

Hoang Quynh, Marketing Director of Oriental Sails, said the website www.orientalsails.com provides a lot of useful information and images about yacht service on Ha Long Bay and Lan Ha Bay, enabling local residents and domestic and foreign tourists to seek services and destinations even from their home. This is also a “hibernation” for businesses to enhance services, online systems and social networks to achieve booming development after the epidemic ends.

Mr. Tran Duc Hai, Director of the Hanoi Department of Tourism, said, this is a good time for companies to proactively promote technological application to manage their work and help local people and tourists far and wide to have more useful travel information. Developing online tourism will help them affirm their brands and promote their images in an effective manner and create a foundation for sustainable development in the future.

However, in order to effectively develop online tourism, according to Mr. Vu The Binh, Standing Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Tourism Association, travel firms and destination managers need to clearly identify goals and plans of action and have workable solutions. In fact, when launching online tourism, many companies have not taken full advantage of technological potential. The simultaneous launch of various solutions, including increased personnel training of information technology, also needs to be a focus.

When the Covid-19 pandemic ends is uncertain; meanwhile the tourism industry has been seriously affected as almost all operations have been closed down. But, difficulties and challenges have also inspired enterprises to seek opportunities, build new approaches and speed up technological application for future sustainable development. Hopefully, with this adaptation, Vietnam's tourism is well prepared to make a substantial change in quality and quantity, to catch new opportunities after the epidemic.

By Giang Tu, Vietnam Business Forum