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How Augmented Reality is Paving Way for a New and Exciting Tours and Travel Industry

augmented reality and the travel industry

We all have been subjected to Augmented Reality at some point in our lives. When we use face filters on our favourite social media platforms or play simulation games, we are essentially having an encounter with AR. The development of AR over the years has been extremely advantageous for us in a range of fields and the travel industry is no exception. With the advancement of mobile technologies, the travel industry has seen massive growth in the last years and has been transformed into a more interactive and enjoyable landscape. 

If you have any sort of interaction with Augmented Reality, you know how important and revolutionising it can be for the travel industry. The trend has gotten most major players into mobile apps as a move to stay relevant and connected with their audience. Nevertheless, in order to stay ahead of the competition, new implementations have to be made. 

This is where Augmented Reality comes in. It can take the entire travel experience to new levels for both the travellers and the facilitators. With the implementation of AR, travel companies can make it easier for their audience to search and book tours on the go. 

What Augmented Reality does, unlike Virtual Reality, is put digital components over real-world elements to provide a rich and visually appealing feel to the users about their surroundings. Hence, there are infinite possibilities for AR in the travel industry.

AR in Travel Apps

The role of AR in the travel industry is to enhance your perception of the surroundings around you when seen through your smartphone or laptop. One of the first global applications of AR in mobile apps would be Pokemon Go. The game recreates our surrounding with the help of AR and offers us open-world gameplay based on our own world. 

Statista reports that the Augment Reality market around the world is predicted to evolve 5.91 billion to 198 billion U.S dollars by 2025. The travel industry can benefit from the use of AR by implementing the technology into their websites and mobile apps, allowing a more engaging and interactive experience for the customers.  Moreover, AR can be experienced through smartphones, laptops, tablets, and most electronic devices and is more affordable than VR, which often requires special devices to work.

Types of AR Applications in the Travel Industry

Here are the following ways AR can enhance the travel experience:


Location-based AR apps work with GPS, accelerometer, or digital compass data. Pokemon Go, for instance, uses your live location to give you an augmented version of your surroundings. The same idea can be implemented with apps that facilitate city tours or apps that are used for navigation.


Marker-based AR or recognition-based AR provides us with details about a certain object after having recognised it. It senses the object in the camera lens and offers on-screen information about it.

Markers can be anything from codes, physical objects, and printed images. This type of technology is mostly used in AR travel applications, allowing tourists to point their camera at certain objects to learn more about them.


SLAM stands for Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping. This software is responsible for identifying objects around the user. It is integrated with complex algorithms to recognise colour, patterns, and other characteristics of objects.

How AR can Serve Travel and Tourism Industry

Travel and tourism encompass a lot of sectors including transportation, hospitality, accommodation, destination guide and more. While AR is relatively new to the travel industry its uses and applications are growing rapidly over the years as many major players resort to using Augmented Reality to offer their customers a more inclusive and interactive experience.

AR can transform each facet of the travel and tourism industry into something new and exciting. Here are some of the ways AR can help renew the travel industry:

augmented reality and the travel industry

Hotel and Accommodations

With Augmented Reality, Hotels have the advantage of driving customer engagement and provide travellers with information in an immersive manner. 

Moreover, businesses can also improve their sales and booking by providing guests with AR-powered apps to navigate their localities and make use of the amenities available to them. Travellers can have an augmented version of their surroundings on their phone, which will lead them to learn more about their tourist spots in an organised and entertaining manner.

Augmented Tourist Destinations

Another way AR can enhance the travel experience is by implementing augmented reality in tourist destinations and landmarks. For instance, an AR-enabled app will give a knowledgeable and interactive tour of ancient travel destinations and allow travellers to gain more insight into the creation and preservation of the monument, building, or landmarks. With AR, tourists just have to pint their cameras at certain buildings, objects, or places and they can be presented with a visual cue of the entire history of the subject. 

Immersive Navigation

AR-powered travel apps can ensure the travellers never get lost or feel alienated in a place, regardless of the language barrier. Instead of relying on others for directions, tourists can utilise the AR-powered app to navigate through the entire city. Such apps can also make the use of smartphone cameras and Google Maps to project a better immersive experience.

Local Transit

The use of AR in travel apps is making local transit easier and more accessible for everyone, regardless of where the tourists come from and what language they speak. An AR-based travel app shows an interesting map view of the road, highlighting all the important places and popular destinations in the city. It can also be programmed to show an interactive map of the entire city so the travellers know where they can get what. AR integration with the travel industry is sure to eliminate the need for the travel guide at one point as most of the information can be accessed directly from one’s smartphone. 

Beacon Technology and Push Notifications

With AR, companies can use beacon technology to send to push notifications about their services and offers. This type of technology can be especially advantageous for the travel and tourism industry. For instance, a tour and travel company can use AR to send push notifications about the best places to eat out or spend your day’ to tourists who entered a certain location.

AR Gamification

AR is widely used in the field of gaming and now the travel industry has come to learn about how gratifying a certain experience can keep the customers coming back. A hotel, travel company or tour guide can enhance the experience of services they offer by implementing a few fun tricks into their physical environment with AR.

For instance, a hotel can run a treasure hunt on its premises by using its AR-based mobile app to send clues and tips to the participants. It can also use the app to paint a better picture of how the treasure hunt is going to be executed.

AR City Tours

Since AR can enhance and modify the surrounding around you, it only makes sense to use it as an effective facilitator of city tours. Tourists don’t have to be dependent on locals to travel to important places in the city. They can just flip open their phone and be presented with an interactive map of the place with every little highlight that they might want to check out. 

AR for Museums

Like in city tours, AR can be beneficial in museums as well. Using AR, visitors can learn a lot about the art and crafts they come across in the museum. Moreover, they can have in-depth knowledge of the creator, painter, sculptor of the pieces they happen to see in the museums. This will not only keep the entire museum visiting experience interesting, it will also be very knowledgable and informative for everyone. 

Importance of AR in the Travel Industry

Now that we know the role AR plays in the transformation of the travel industry, let’s take a look at how AR can be beneficial for travel app development. A lot of companies are implementing AR in their business models to offer a personalised experience to their customers. 

augmented reality and the travel industry

Convenient Access to Information

One of the points of travelling to new places is to learn new things about the place the people that reside there. With AR, you can have an enhanced experience of the same as you will get ready-made information about the entire city and its various parts. 

AR can be accessed with one’s smartphone, which allows for easy access to a range of information in a simplified manner. You can find important places, eateries, the best places to stay, and even check the weather forecast in real-time. 

Better Marketing for Further Reach

Implementing AR in advertisements and marketing intrigues customers and makes them want to keep coming back. Hotels, cities, and tour guides can use AR to offer a visual approach and allows customers to visualise the property much more interactively. Companies can also leverage AR to use creative and interesting narratives with virtual tours based on the real thing. 

Effective use of AR will not only influence your customer’s decisions, but it will also turn new-comers into loyal customers. 

Comfortable and Well-Timed

Timely information about various aspects can make a lot of difference in the travelling experience. With AR-based travel apps, tourists can stroll through a foreign city without the worries of getting lost or losing their sense of time. An AR app can be of service 24*7 and can eliminate the language barrier for people who are visiting from different countries.

Makes Tourist Places more Attractive and Informative

AR technology implements 3D models of places and landmark along with in-depth information about their historical significance. Users can stroll through important places and have a visual idea about how it used to look in earlier ages, what changes have been made ever since, and who built the structure in the first place directly through their smartphones. 

Combining history and art with technology will make the travel industry flourish and reach new heights.

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