|As travellers get moving again, new ways of seeing the sights are being developed with safety in mind |
The latest challenge for Ho Chi Minh City is being able to promote a greener economy in order for it to recover quickly, with the metropolis contributing up to 10 per cent of GDP each year. To solve this problem, the city has sought to apply technology to develop smart tourism projects, contributing to changing the way tourist sites are managed and increasing the visitor experience.
Utilising 5G, which has been tested in a number of districts since the start of last year, is becoming a driving force to help deploy smart tourism projects all over the city – even if many travellers cannot yet travel there to see the real thing.
Smart tourism product City Tour by the Ho Chi Minh City Space Technology Application Centre has deployed virtual reality at many famous tourist sites including the Saigon Central Post Office, Independence Palace, Thien Hau Temple, Bui Vien, the Nguyen Hue walking street, and Bach Dang Wharf.
With just an electronic device connected to the internet, visitors sitting at home can access City Tour’s website to experience the destinations with vivid 360-degree images, voiceovers, and catchy music without having to move a muscle.
Another related product that also benefits from 5G technology is City Tour Hop On-Hop Off provided by Anh Viet Media TV & Tourist Co., Ltd. This initiative uses digital traffic and tourism data as well as visitor preference data to design tours that combine transport such as buses and riverboats. Ticket sales are carried out online, and the destinations and routes are vividly introduced on the company’s website.
Through this scheme, visitors can listen to automatic explanations in seven languages through free Wi-Fi. Tourists can even experience the tours without having to meet any staff except for the driver. Thanks to this, the company has been able to operate during the pandemic.
“Innovations driven by 5G not only create added value for tourists, but also open up new revenue streams and improve efficiency for businesses engaged in tourism,” said Le Truong Hien Hoa, deputy director of Ho Chi Minh City Department of Tourism.
It is expected that 5G’s wide coverage and more stable connections will allow the development of more smart travel products where 4G technology is still limited, especially when the role of electronic devices is becoming more important.
Tech solutions being deployed by the Tourism IT Centre (TITC) under the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) such as the Vietnam Safe Travel app, the safe declaration system, and vaccine passports will likely benefit further thanks to the development of 5G.
The Vietnam Safe Travel application has just been comprehensively upgraded, fully integrated with features such as smart travel cards, safe tourist digital maps, medical declarations, vaccination certificates, and medical updates on the pandemic situation in localities.
The TITC also builds a system to certify vaccination numbers so that when international tourism is reopened, international visitors to Vietnam can declare their information to get a vaccine passport and visit as normal.
Many monuments and craft villages in Hanoi that apply technology to build smart tourism products will also develop more thanks to 5G. For example, the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, Hoa Lo Prison, and Bat Trang ceramic village have successfully applied automatic interpretation systems and launched a search website to retrieve destination information. The Centre for Cultural and Scientific Activities at Van Mieu-Quoc Tu Giam has also built a 3D library, allowing visitors to use multiple languages to search for information. Meanwhile, Hanoi Department of Tourism has completed a tourist map of the capital in digital form in order to help tourism businesses and individuals to easily look up destinations.
The large-scale deployment of 5G will be accompanied by major travel companies in the country such as Saigontourist, Vietravel, Hanoitourist and more, which have all completed digital transformation in management while building new products, promoting tours, and dealing with customers online mainly.
“This way, tourism businesses can reach more customers, take better care of them, reduce costs, and increase business efficiency,” said Vu The Binh, vice chairman of the VNAT.