Incorporating VR, AR, and Related Technologies in the Tourism Industry: State of the Art

Incorporating VR, AR, and Related Technologies in the Tourism Industry: State of the Art

Sandra Maria Correia Loureiro (Business Research Unit (BRU-IUL),Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL), Lisbon, Portugal), Eduardo Moraes Sarmento (Universidade Lusófona de Humanidades e Tecnologias (ULHT), CEsA (Universidade de Lisboa), Portugal) and João Ferreira do Rosário (Escola Superior de Comunicação Social (ESCS), Instituto Politécnico de Lisboa, Portugal)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2874-7.ch013


The chapter exposes the importance of tourism in the world economy, gives an overview of what academic and practitioners are doing regarding the use of engagement-facilitating technologies in tourism, and suggests avenues for further research. Authors give insights about the evolution and important of tourism. The chapter presents an overview of the state of the art on the use of engagement-facilitating technologies (mainly virtual and augmented reality) in research. Examples of applications of engagement-facilitating technologies are given. Authors suggest future research directions and present conclusions.
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The world is changing with the development of innovative technologies, including Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), Internet of Things (IOT), Artificial Intelligence (AR), among others, that started to be used by the tourism sector. Overall, these technologies may be designed as engagement-facilitating technologies because they have the capacity to affect humans at leisure and work. These technologies may contribute positively to perform the tasks more easily at work and to expand and extend the tourist experiences or even consumption experiences (Kumar et al. 2016; Verhoef et al., 2017; Ng &Wakenshaw, 2017).

Recently the world assisted to the power of AR through the success of the smartphone game Pokemon Go that induced urban discovery and had impact on perceptions of public spaces and increase place attachment, as examples that can be extended to the tourism sector, in this case through gamification of the user experiences. Research has also being conducted in aspects such as the impact of AR in enhancing museum experiences and purchase intentions (e.g., Tussyadiah, Wang, Jung, & tom Dieck, 2018; Jung, Chung, & Leue, 2015), mobile AR acceptance in urban heritage tourism (tom Dieck & Jung, 2017) or the impact of Virtual Reality in attitudes toward tourism destinations and visitation intention (Tussyadiah, Wang, Jung & tom Dieck, 2018).

Considering the above examples, these technologies bring new research in topics such as, how to measure and increase their acceptance in tourism, how to measure their effectiveness to induce visit intentions and/or improve location perceptions how to design technology platforms adapted to the tourism sector, among others, whose knowledge will contribute to improve tourism location competitiveness strategies, considering all possibilities that these news technologies bring to this sector.

In this vein, the current chapter intends to expose the importance of tourism in the world economy, (ii) give an overview of what academic and practitioners are doing regarding the use of engagement-facilitating technologies in tourism, and (iii) suggest avenues for further research.

The remainder of the chapter is composed by the background, where we present an overview of the relevance of tourism in the world and the link between tourism and technologies, mainly focused on VR and AR and the state of the art on this subject. Next section is devoted to examples of the real use of such technologies in the tourism industry. Finally, we present suggestions for further research and the conclusions.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Virtual Reality: A technology that provides an immersive experience that an individual can navigate and possibly interact with, resulting in real-time simulation of one or more of the user’s five senses.

S-O-R Framework: Stimuli - organism - response. The framework intends to describe the individual behavior through the stimuli creating cognitive and emotional states, which, in turn, lead to responses.

Augmented Reality: AR is an interactive experience of a real-world environment where tourists can see the objects of the real-world “augmented” by computer-generated perceptual information, sometimes across multiple sensory modalities, such as visual or hearing.

Internet-of-Things (IOT): A system of interrelated computing devices, people, animals, objects and mechanical and digital machines and the ability to transfer data over a network without human-to computer or human-to human interaction.

Technology Acceptance Model (TAM): Is a theory that intend to explain how users accept and use technologies.

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