In a recently released report on Internet Plus tourism, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism said that the total size of online tourism consumption has exceeded 1 trillion yuan ($152.6 billion) nationwide. The Ministry also said that the digitalization trend in the tourism sector is accelerating.
That reflects the fact that increasingly more tourists book their tickets online in advance, while scenic sites promote their services and enrich the visitor experience by employing smart technologies. Just as the ministry said, Internet Plus is becoming a major driving force of the tourism sector's high-quality development and industrial upgrading.
Smart tourism has gained obvious advantages over traditional tourism. For example, tourism service companies can better understand the demands of tourists and provide tailored services.
Providing high-quality services in turn attracts more tourists, boosting the local economy. Wuzhen in East China's Zhejiang province is a good example. The town has become the permanent host of the World Internet Congress since its first session in 2014, and it has leveraged this by applying smart technologies to integrate the traditional with the modern, injecting new vitality into the millennium-old town and attracting many tourists.
The rise of smart tourism shows how information technology leads to deep reforms in social production and people's daily lives. 5G, big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, the internet of things, virtual reality, and blockchain－all these technologies can be applied in the tourism sector to further diversify the products and services.
In November 2020, the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, together with another nine ministries jointly issued a guiding document promoting the optimization of the business environment for Internet Plus tourism.
It is necessary for local governments to echo that call by optimizing their policies and providing support, so as to help more smart tourism products to emerge.
During 2020, the domestic tourism sector flourished despite setbacks from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has much to do with the places adopting the Internet Plus strategy. Time to expand that to more areas to better help the domestic tourism sector.