Covid-19 pandemic - a boon for digital tourism startups

15 August, 2021

Faculty graduates create "Hop A Tour"  -  where visitors can find live virtual tours led by world-class tour guides.

VOA feature on Hop a Tour

hop a tour

writeup by Prof. Aliza Fleischer  :

The catastrophic effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the world tourism industry is reflected in the gloomy global hospitality industry overview given in this newsletter. However, I want to provide an example here for the possibilities for the tourism industry that the Covid-19 pandemic opened up. Digital technology allows for the development of new opportunities for tourism services suppliers. The tourism start-up in the example I am giving here does not fall in the traditional definition of tourism service which entails the travel of a person from her home to the tourism site. Yet, it still creates economic benefits to the local suppliers of tourism services in different locations.

Hop A Tour (hopatour.com) is a startup founded by the CEO Kenan Braun, one of our alumni, which provides professionally guided livestream virtual tours on location with HD quality video streaming. The viewers can communicate with the tour guide and other participants in real-time. Hop A Tour brings immersive exploration experiences to a global audience. The success of this startup was accelerated due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  Hop A Tour provides training and equipment to professional tour guides on location and works with them to create an itinerary suitable for a remote viewing audience. The standardized quality control ensures a uniform high-quality experience for all of the customers on every tour.

This digital platform provides sustainable, scalable growth for tour guides, whether located in a large urban center or remote village. By bringing immersive tourism to a global audience, tourism is democratized for guides and would-be tourists. This platform provides a new income stream for guides, opens the possibilities for online shopping from local stores and exposure of destinations to new potential customers.

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Virtual Tourism: Going Places from the Comfort of Home