Since 2014, Virtual Reality (VR) has been eye-opener in many segments of the economy. A virtual reality device like Oculus Rift has transformed many sectors of the economy, including gaming, cinema, and tourism. People introduced with VR were astonished by the 360-degree experience. Many of the businesses associated with tourism industry claim that VR can serve as a great tool to promote the tourism industry. BBC News reported that the use of new technology such as virtual reality in tourism business brings many opportunities but at the same time businesses need to be kept updated with advancements in new technology so that the quality is maintained.
Information plays an influencing role in making traveling decisions, and due to the intangible nature of tourism marketing relies heavily on visual imagery to promote the destination. The biggest opportunity of VR in the tourism industry is that consumers will be able to choose the destination of travel, which will allow them to experience a holiday destination prior booking their trip. Thomas Cook, a UK travel agent, partnered with Samsung and visual reality filmmakers in 2015. He made a series of short films of several destinations; as a result, there was more than 40% return on investment in first three months of endeavor.
Malaysia is ranked as the top 10 in tourism in arrivals, and the 9th most visited country. Economic Transformation Programme (ETP) sees the strong position of Malaysia in global tourism, as it is the fifth largest industry of Malaysian economy. Hence the tourism industry will remain one of the important sectors of the country’s economy.
To further promote tourism, Malaysia has to keep its tourism industry up-to-date with new technology. Virtual reality allows guided tours of any place, and people can ‘try before buy’ destinations. Moreover, the tourists will be able to experience a realistic approach in choosing their destinations for holiday. This will be helpful to less famous and remote tourist spots. A virtual tour of the place, enhance memory of destination which helps the consumer to have an intense and vivid experience of the destination. Therefore it can be claimed that VR plays a crucial role in the tourism industry to attract tourist arrival in the country.