Member News: Could AR Be The Key to Tourism Industry Recovery post COVID-19?

There is no doubt that the tourism industry has been dealt one of the hardest hits from the COVID-19 pandemic.   It will also be one of the last industries to recover with international travel services months away from resumption and questions around whether the industry will ever return to ‘normal’.

The tourism industry delivers a staggering $6billion to the Gold Coast economy each year.  Destination Gold Coast CEO Annaliese Battista told myGC in a recent interview “Our calculations are that the losses to the Gold Coast tourism economy are definitely at a billion dollars now, and increasing by $310 million every month that travel restrictions are in place.”

While the industry waits for restrictions to lift, local innovators are hard at work finding new ways to boost the sector and attract new visitors to the city, even if they can only come here virtually.  Gold Coast Innovation Hub member – AustechVR has this week launched new ‘virtual portals’ that use Augmented and Virtual reality to allow online visitors to explore popular destinations.

We asked AustechVR founder, Ken Lee to explain a little bit about this new technology.  “AR portals are a unique way of allowing regions and cities to send a little bit of their locations to potential visitors. We build what seems like a magic doorway, you view it through your phone camera, walk through that doorway and find yourself standing on the sand at Surfers Paradise or looking over the Gold Coast skyline from Mt Tamborine.  If I was living in Melbourne during the dead of winter this would make me book a ticket and get my fill of our wonderful sunshine.”

Ken believes there is also a more serious use for this AR technology in showcasing infrastructure in order to attract key events, conferences and performers to the city. “A City like the Gold Coast has so much infrastructure and natural assets. We have commenced rebuilding some of these key assets from the ground up as 3d Models. Once we build these interactive replicas of a venue like Metricon Stadium, we can send the stadium to any location around the world. Anyone with a mobile phone can see and also interact with the stadium. This makes the decision to host an event such as a concert at Metricon Stadium that much easier. This type of marketing is super powerful and will certainly help our region to secure national and potentially international events well into the future.”

Check out the 3d replica of Metricon Stadium in the video below and visit AustechVR.com.au to find out more.