How technology is revolutionising the tourism industry

It is widely recognised that tourism has the potential to help South Africa and other African countries grow their economies and create jobs.

Tourism is contributing for around 9 percent of South Africa’s gross domestic product, a growth to the economy of R412.5 billion in 2017, which translates into 1.5 million jobs or 9.5 percent of total employment.

By 2028, it is estimated that almost 2.1 million South African jobs will depend on tourism. Similar scenarios are playing out across many other African economies.

However, ensuring a growing tourism sector will mean constantly assessing fast-moving technological developments that have the potential to change expectations, and create new opportunities—or might not come to fruition. In time, it’s possible that driving itself will be outdated, and faces and fingerprints will replace passports altogether. Today, however, we are still journeying to that future world. The next few years will be an exciting time for travel technology as advancements made in the past decade begin to scale up and make network-wide impacts. Here are some advancements and new experiences travellers should expect to add to their adventures, and that tourism operators should be considering.

While nobody can yet say with confidence how autonomous vehicles (AVs) will be deployed at scale and within open context, it is certain that AVs can work in dedicated areas to transform carefully chosen tourist activities in an environment-friendly way.

Heathrow Airport in London has the proof. Its self-driving shuttles have been running on dedicated roadways since 2011. Airport officials told the BBC in 2014 that they replace an estimated 70,000 bus journeys each year. The pods also complete their journey faster than buses while reducing carbon emissions by 50 percent as compared with typical airport shuttle buses, and by 70 percent as compared with individuals in cars.

Here in South Africa, the potential for AVs to improve certain tourist experiences is very much on the radar. The non-profit Mobility Centre for Africa was set to run South Africa’s first public AV trials. This will begin showing the many ways in which these vehicles could be used to transform tourism. Examples include linking the Sandton Gautrain station with other local destinations, running along Durban’s famous beach front, or connecting Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront with the convention centre and CBD.

 

Read full article here: IT News Africa