- Tourism boards in Australia are keeping travellers engaged by offering virtual tours.
- From adventure, nature, food or art lovers, there is an online trip for everyone.
- With strict lockdown, this seems to be an innovative idea to keep customers involved.
- Social media and microblogging websites are creating platforms to host virtual tours.
Travel is one of the most satisfying and enriching experiences one can indulge in. Every year, travel enthusiasts from around the world plan their trips in advance, be it domestic or international. Some travellers depend on travel advisors to book the best of the tours, while others do their own research and travel independently.
However, COVID-19 pandemic scrapped all the itineraries and plans tourists were looking forward to this year. Travel and leisure have been some of the worst hit industries amidst border restrictions, travel bans and social distancing norms.
As many countries are stabilising from the ill-effects of pandemic and reopening domestic travel, to begin with, few of them are still closed for both local as well and international travel. Afraid of the virus spread, few countries from Europe have put restrictions on international travellers from most affected countries like the USA.
Keeping health hazards in mind, most travellers are currently choosing to travel domestically. They prefer to visit closer-to-home destination at a drivable distance.
Australian Tourism Industry Utilising New Virtual Opportunities
Amidst travel fear and restrictions, internet and social media have come to the rescue for travel lovers. Various tourism boards are trying to keep their travel-hungry customers hooked through virtual activities and innovative travel campaigns.
Be it taking a virtual tour of the globe and understanding basic geography or experiencing a virtual jungle safari, all of this is made possible while travellers stay inside their homes. Interactive sessions with tour guides and tourists while watching favourite places online have kept travellers in touch with real sprits.
On virtual tour, created with Google Maps, one can tour the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt or Amazon forest in Brazil. All this while just sitting in your living room sofa!
Of course, online tours may not be as fun and interactive like actually visiting the place. But given the fact that borders are closed, airlines are grounded and we are forced to sit at home amidst grave health crisis, virtual tours seem to be the best option for leisure and engagement.
According to the World Travel & Tourism Council's June report, the travel and tourism industry will face around 40% decline this year, which is roughly US$3.5 trillion. The international travellers would plunge by more than half, while domestic visitors would fall by one-third.
During May, Tourism of Australia, with the help of Australia's most iconic personalities, launched a virtual extravaganza for travel enthusiasts. From the Great Barrier Reef to Uluru, travel lovers not just visited these places online but also danced with The Wiggles. There was a special session conducted to learn the best-kept Aussie BBQ secrets from Hayden Quinn.?
Simply visit the official website of Tourism of Australia to watch these spectacular videos!
For art admirers, there were special virtual tours straight from prestigious art galleries and museums, while music lovers danced and listened to symphonies of Beethoven, Bach and Mendelssohn Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
Similarly, Tourism Western Australia also offered a 13-day virtual reality tour to travellers. From pristine beaches to beautiful vineyards, travellers could see stunning Western Australian attractions and destinations without leaving their house. They could submerge in the magical experience of Albany, gliding over region's granite cliffsides and sheltered bays.
Besides, they could take the plunge into the vast Southern Ocean, spotting flat sunfish and killer whales. The stunning Yallingup region in the depths of Ngilgi with its impressive geological formations and its significance to local Aboriginal people will surely leave you speechless.
Travel Enthusiasts Coming Up with Innovative Ideas to Stay Engaged
Interestingly, a travel enthusiast family from Australia decided to go on a vacation - virtually. The family created an ambience of a flight to Munich. Nathan Russell, a school teacher, came up with this idea to keep his kids engaged.
Using recliner sofas as waiting lounge and dining table as the security gate, the family of five amazed and inspired other travellers online. Like Russell family, many others around the world had to cancel their trips which they were dreaming and planning on for years. Giving yourself such experiences can definitely help in embracing the critical situation everyone's facing during the pandemic.
Despite having their own travel plans scrapped, a lot of travel bloggers are keeping their audience engaged on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, by sharing archived pictures and videos and conducting a interactive Q&A sessions with their followers.
In times like these, yes, we can't jet off to Europe or Southeast Asia, but it's never too late to explore locally and perhaps virtually!