As many people from around the world who are immersed in the social media platforms know, there is a very bright future for the entrepreneurs and the innovators of the Tourism business. Through new technology, people are enabled and even encouraged through advertisements, friends, family or pure curiosity to search, join groups, check-in, brag, announce, comment, share and complain about every place they went to, or which they wish to visit. The internet facilitates this commodity through social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, TripAdvisor, Orkut and others.
The more adventurous types would say that this is a boring way of spending a holiday, considering that thorough research for the place that will be visited simply takes the life out of life. Other users of the internet and more specifically of the social media platforms have deemed it as a sort of Holy Grail for tourism through which people would know the ins and outs of the place they wish to visit. That includes whereabouts, points of interest, cuisine, culture, maybe even the pet peeves of a certain nation.
There are also applications which act as a guide through a museum so that you don’t have to walk through there and not remain with something other than visual memories.
However, the internet stops at nothing to inform people about the magnificent places in which to vacation. Technology has tried (and even succeeded) to integrate social media platforms and tourism related applications (such as Eventbrite for entertainment, Amtrak or American Airlines for travel, etc.). People can write and read reviews on the go, they can ask people via the internet about certain places and you can even video chat with your friends so as to show them where you are and what you are doing in a certain moment of your trip (Twitter can be used for that as well). The best example of integration is on the iOS 6, where Apple has integrated the Passbook application which makes it easier to book flights, simplifies hotel reservations and basically uses the iPhone or the iPod touch as a ticket for everything. It is true that some may see it as “putting all your eggs in one basket”, but from another perspective it saves room in your wallet for other important objects (like pictures of the loved ones and an identification card because through the miracle of technology, people can use their mobile device to pay wherever there is a bar-code scanner and internet access). You can have your personal accountant, which tells you how much money you have and how much you have spent.
As Marshall Mcluhan stated in an article in 1962, “media technology shapes how we as individuals in a society think, feel, act, and how society operates as we move from one technological age to another.” The truth of those words exists even now, when we are evolving as a society. From a touristic point of view, technology can not only help people search, find and all the actions I have described in the first paragraph, it can actually replace an entire holiday through a new type of tourism (it was first used in 1994) which is the virtual tourism. As I have mentioned previously, it has appeared in 1994 as a virtual tour of the CGI reconstructed Dudley Castle, England. From then on, it has become more and more popular, and has progressed in a direct proportionality with the technical improvements of the personal computer. Google has also introduced the Google Sightseeing exactly for virtual tourism purposes. They started with the Louvre, but now they have these types of virtual tours all over the world.
As everybody can see, people are always trying to make everything easier and safer. In my opinion, this is a predominantly good thing, because the tourists can do everything faster, better and more secure. So, if an individual would have an iPhone, iPad, Galaxy Tab, or any other portable device, he would have the following: entertainment (e-book reader, video and music player, games, etc.), paying method (through bar-code or QR-code scanner), tickets (by using the Passbook app mentioned earlier) and information centre (maps, the hotel applications and others).
So basically, the technological determinism is helping society when it comes to tourism. Be it for entertainment, security or travel this system is working for the people.