Sharjah: Tourism industry experts are in awe with travel hitting new highs after the slow growth in the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Travel industry is back on track with statistics hitting pre-pandemic levels, said Edwardo Soares, Managing Director of Intellias Middle East, during the closing panel discussion titled ‘An Open Horizon and Endless Possibilities’, at the 9th edition of the Sharjah International Travel and Tourism Forum (SITTF) on Thursday.
“Data sits right in the centre of what is happening in the travel sector. Knowledge-sharing between public and private sectors through data analyses will help streamline new experiences for end users,” said Soares, highlighting the benefits of travel predictions in providing enhanced customer experiences.
He added that integration of services from multiple sectors is a must for an optimal experience. “Companies should leverage their technologies and also the understanding of its customer base to adjust their offerings accordingly,” he said.
Cliff Szue, CEO of Multiverse, shed light into his experience of building the digital twin of Sharjah city on the metaverse. “Sharjahverse was created in collaboration with the Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Authority. We used geospatial data from satellite images to create a 3D explorable environment. For the interiors, we captured images using special video cameras and combined them using algorithms and AI. This digital twin city was created to bridge the journey between the physical and digital worlds. Creating such experiences have shown to increase employee productivity, and is a new way to connect to customers,” he said.
“When the Gen-Z will turn into primary economic spenders, they will be on the metaverse as emails will then feel outdated. Immersive travel and hospitality experiences are going to be on the forefront soon as this category will want to go through a virtual experience before they attend it for real,” he added.
Pekka Kelkka, Web 3 and Blockchain Advisor and Educator, said that customer service projects on the metaverse are doing wonders creating holistic experiences for users. “Translating these experiences to different sectors within the hospitality and tourism industry will give a boost to tourists with no borders. We are transitioning from 2D internet to 3D simulations slowly and steadily. Today, we can chat with public entities in the UAE with our digital avatars, this is one of the early forms of us entering the 3D world,” he added.
“In the same way that we build architectural marvels in the real world, we can revel in the metaverse and build imaginations that will provide an enjoyable interactive experience for the users to visit hotels and tourist facilities in advance,” said Kelkka.