Tourism! Some call it leisure, others call it business. It means different things to different people at different times. To many, traveling all over the world for business while you accidentally bump into unique destinations is Tourism. To a certain extent, this is true. However, tourism goes way beyond just travelling around.
It encompasses travelling, visiting tourist destinations, learning diverse cultures and tradition as well as experiencing various lifestyles. Merely passing by a tourist site doesn’t make one a tourist. You actually have to stay in a place and spend time at tourist sites to qualify.
In times past, life as a tourist wasn’t very easy and only a handful of people could call themselves tourist dues to the financial implications. These costs were generated from hotel reservations, transportation, food and airtime. Fast forward a few more years say hello to technology. Technology has made it very easy for everyone to be a tourist.
It has come as a blessing to world tourism. This writer looks at ways in which technology has blessed tourism.
Online Hotel Booking – Somewhere in the early 90’s, there were a handful of recognized tourists. This was because of countless limitations and travel challenges. One typical challenge was accommodation or hotel booking. To make a reservation, tourists had to ask friends or family about hotel options or sometimes even travel blind by just packing and venturing into the unknown. With no place in mind, they just sleep at their final destination.
Sometimes, that may not be the best because you may end up in a place of discomfort. In this day of technology where smartphones, computers, tablets and the internet are widespread, tourists can search for accommodation options in their desired destinations and make bookings online several months and weeks before they actually make the trip. This also enables them to compare prices and access promotions to obtain the best available rates. It’s always good to save some money while on tour. You never want to be left stranded.
Transportation and Navigation – There is nothing more frustrating than getting lost in the middle of nowhere. One may argue that when this happens, it turns your trip into an adventure. Yes, it does! But an adventure is fun and eventful when you actually meant to go on one. When you are trying to locate a tourist site or a destination in a foreign country without success, you end up spending more money or even fall prey to some criminals and fraudsters. Technology has made it possible for you to locate all your destinations by just a few clicks.
Online maps and apps allow you to just enter these destinations. in a search box, click enter and get a direct route plus estimated time to reach these places. Making flight reservations as well us booking seats on trains and buses have become far easy with many apps and online services. How about grabbing a taxi from one place to another in a very busy city? Technology makes it possible to get picked up from the comfort of your hotel to your destination without the hustle of walking through the sun or snow or standing at the bus stop for hours and finally struggling with other people to get a seat on a commercial bus.
Social Media – These days, who is not on social media? Do you know anyone? Well maybe, that person doesn’t have a device that supports social media. That might even be a rare case. With technology and the strong emergence of social media, nearly everyone and everything is online. Go to facebook, twitter, Instagram, Linkedin, Pinterest and other social media platforms to see how many millions of people show where they are and what they are doing at various destinations around the world.
If you have doubts about a particular country or tourist site, just search on social media and you will find over a dozen reasons why you should either go there or cancel it from your travel plan. Social media via technology has helped the tourism industry by allowing many tourist sites in various countries to showcase the beauty and rich history that these sites possess on a platform where millions can easily access in a split second. If ever there was a need to promote tourism as quickly as possible, that need was met with technology by the strong emergence of social media.
Memories – The only prove for a tourist who claims to have been here, there and there is a real picture or video of him/her at that place. Just updating your facebook status or tweeting the name of the destination doesn’t cut it. With the massive lift in technology, there are many ways that tourists can document their travels and keep long lasting memories about that amazing waterfall or that startling monument.
High spec cameras or high-resolution smartphones and tablets allows us to take really clear pictures and videos while storage devices like memory chips and external hard drives make us keep these files for many many years. Having memories of these great destinations and tourist sites enables us to show our family and friends back home what beautiful places we have been to and why they should also go there thereby promoting tourism everywhere we find ourselves.
Payment – Cash is the most widespread payment method that most people are used to. There are other payment methods that tourists usually use. Although less popular, it is hoped that soon, many more people will patronize this as a quick and easy means of paying for goods and services. Online payment platforms, as well as visa and mastercards, allow you to access your bank account from halfway across the equator. Tourists no more have to be stressed about having access to funds in a distant land.
They can pay for food, transport and hotel reservations through bank transfers, visa card withdrawals, and POS transactions. How many people have been stranded because they didn’t have a payment method applicable to their country of abode? A lot if you ask me. Technology has made it such that, no matter where you are, you can have access to your money. This eliminates the fear of many tourists to travel all over the world because of being stranded. More and more tourists will travel and this will help boom the tourism industry.
The writer works with Jumia Travel, a travel agency in Ghana.