This year, the number of trips was limited, but creative innovations in the field of travel continue. Check out our top seven in 2020.
For most of 2020, the covid-19 pandemic did not allow us to visit other families, let alone travel to another place or vacation abroad. This has had a devastating impact on the travel and tourism industry: its global revenues have declined by as much as 42.1 percent compared to 2019.
The consequences of this were diverse, affecting communities whose survival depends on tourism, as well as many travel companies that were forced to close. However, the positive side of this was the positive impact on the environment for travelers and local tourists.
Here we have collected seven of the most creative innovations in the field of travel and tourism over the past year. Some seek to help those communities that depend on tourism by providing virtual experiences; some seek to make future travel resistant to coronavirus; and some hope to preserve this year's positive environmental impact by helping travel become more sustainable.
1. Virtual tour of the Faroe Islands with remote-controlled guides
Cause a little madness because of the quarantine? Missed the travel fix? The Faroe Islands, the territory of Denmark, have come up with a way to allow people from all over the world to go on an independent tour of the archipelago. Locals wearing a camera respond to sightseeing commands from people at home, allowing virtual tourists to control their route.
Virtual visitors manage their guide using the free app and have two minutes of control over the guide, who also provides feedback. After two minutes, it's someone else's turn, although virtual tourists can join the queue for another two minutes any number of times. Guided tours are held for an hour twice a day, at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. (GMT). Guides can be kayaking, horseback riding or hiking in mountain villages.
The remote North Atlantic islands rely heavily on tourism to boost traditional trade such as fishing and sheep grazing, and this year the Faroe Islands are planning to boost tourism with two new 200-room hotels in the capital Te Okershavne. Although the coronavirus pandemic put an end to these ambitions this year, the Faroe Islands hopes that the virtual tourism app will encourage people to come to visit in the future.
2. The hotel booking platform compensates for 100 percent of carbon dioxide emissions when staying in hotels
The Danish hotel booking platform goodwings offers subscription access to more than a million hotels worldwide at wholesale prices. However, goodwings is more than just a regular booking site; the company is an accredited member of B Corp, which aims to turn the hotel industry into a catalyst for sustainable change. With goodwings, all hotel stays are 100 percent carbon offset, which allows you to support people and the planet for free.
Its business model is based on partnerships with a global network of 100 non-profit partners in more than 40 countries acting as ambassadors and marketing channels. The money saved on advertising is then redirected to projects and people who are actively working to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
"We wanted to divert attention away from radical innovation and instead look at how to change existing services so that it would be easier for people to make an impact every day," Lara Moladi, head of communications at goodwings, told springways.
.3. The hotel offers contactless accommodation using a free app
As part of the company's coronavirus-related services adjustment, guests can now enjoy contactless accommodation at all Citizen M hotels around the world. The free citizenM app allows visitors to choose a comfortable level of social interaction. All sites within the business wallet are now cashless, and guests use the app to select a room before arrival.
Check-in and check-out is carried out in the app, all entertainment systems and the environment in the rooms are controlled via the guest's smartphone. Additional security measures installed inside hotels include hourly cleaning of places with heavy traffic, including elevators, and removal of carpets in all rooms. There is currently a subscription to the housekeeping service, so visitors can avoid anyone entering their room during their stay. The app also provides a short-range search filter and local discounts highlighting nearby attractions.
4. An energy-dependent hotel will be built in Norway
The new Svart Hotel (named after the Svartisen Glacier) will be the first to be built in accordance with the positive energy standard of the northern climate, producing more energy than it consumes. Moreover, energy consumption will be 85 percent less than in a typical modern hotel.
Svart was designed by the leading Norwegian sustainable design studio SN Oshita and will be built at the foot of the Svartisen Glacier in the pristine municipality of Mel Erme in northern Norway. The hotel was commissioned by Arctic Adventures in Norway, a sustainable and natural ecotourism company, and is scheduled to be completed by 2023.
The hotel will stand on stilts built of weather-resistant wooden columns that extend several meters below the surface of the fjord. Thanks to several large windows, the round-shaped hotel offers panoramic views of the fjord, providing direct contact with nature. The ring-shaped shape is inspired by the local architecture of "fiscigel" (a wooden structure used for drying fish) and "rourbo" (a traditional type of seasonal house used by fishermen).
5. Origami airplane seat design can help protect flight from covid-19
The French company Safran AeroSystems, which supplies equipment for salons, has entered into a partnership with the British designer of chairs universal motion to create an origami seat that creates partitions around economy class seats.
The design, officially called the interdimensional comfort system, has two wings inside the seat back that can fold out to provide lateral support and prevent movement, leaving the three-seat middle seat free and creating a privacy barrier between the seats.
According to Safran, concave upholstered upholstery, which has the same height as the seat, can be installed on 90 percent of economy class seats. Safran seats executive vice president of strategy and innovation Quentin Munier said he hopes to bring the product to market in the next few months, and the premium economy class concept later this year.
6. An application for making sustainable decisions while traveling
While traveling, it can be difficult to focus on environmental friendliness, especially in an unfamiliar place. The French startup Toki has a solution - a free mobile application that allows users to find restaurants, hotels, environmentally friendly transport and much more.
Toki verifies institutions and activities for their commitment to sustainable development before posting them on its website. In addition, users can share places and impressions on the platform, acting as "ambassadors". As soon as the offers are confirmed by Toki, the ambassador earns points that open discounts and other privileges in the online stores of Toki partner brands.
The TOKI app allows users to search for sustainable businesses nearby and includes a map. Information such as opening hours and phone numbers are also provided. In addition to the app, Toki also offers "green" activities such as waste-free workshops and 100% organic meals. They are intended for use by businesses on non-working days and with privileges.
7. Home-based caregivers use virtual reality to travel and boost morale
Kenta Toshima, a researcher at the University of Tokyo's Advanced Science and Technology Research Center, Inami-Hayama Laboratory, has developed a virtual reality technology that allows elderly and nursing patients to travel to places in the world they have visited or would like to see.
The experiment began when Toshima, working in a nursing home, was inspired to take panoramic photos and videos using a 360-degree camera, which a resident of the nursing home could view through a virtual reality headset. This idea is gaining more and more popularity.
The goal, according to Toshima, is to help and inspire elderly patients who are not allowed to travel due to physical or mental disabilities, or who want to recall past experiences while in the safety of their nursing home.
The virtual reality experience makes them feel like they are outside of a nursing home, and can help alleviate their anxiety and loneliness, who used the camera to shoot panoramas. The process of creating screenshots also included adding Tohima narration and names to make it easier for the viewer.