Most frequent travellers will know all too well the trials, tribulations and occasional triumphs of staying connected on the road. Despite the modern world's reliance on the internet, the ease of finding WiFi while travelling is unpredictable to say the least. But according to new research from Skift, internet access is valued by travellers above all else. Happily, some local and national governments are finally making it easy for travellers to get online in towns and cities.
Of course, there are significant benefits to having visitors always online. With the rise of digital it has become almost habitual for people to constantly update their social networks with images, comments and posts about their travels. If positive, those updates can generate much needed social media buzz for a destination, helping attract more tourists, businesspeople and students. Eventually, the cycle of positive feedback may even serve to improve the overall image of the destination on a longer-term basis. This is the ultimate benefit for a destination.
So towns and cities, and even countries, around the world have at last started to invest in public WiFi, hoping to produce happy tourists who will generate lots of happy posts about their destination.
In Taiwan, tourists present their passport on arrival to receive an access card for the island's free internet service. Tokyo and Kyoto have a similar setup, except access only lasts for 14 days. In London, much of the city is now covered by 'The Cloud', not fog...but a free WiFi network requiring only a simple one time email registration to gain access to unlimited free WiFi. Qatari capital Doha offers free access in many of its public parks and shopping malls.
Estonia is gaining fame for its innovative approach, and the capital Tallinn does not disappoint with its city-wide free WiFi network maintained through funding from local businesses. South Korea, most wired country on Earth, is covered country-wide by a government sponsored network that extends internet access even as far as the taxis and the metro system.
But back in 2003, one little pioneer had already cottoned on to the benefits of free WiFi for everyone. The tiny island of Niue, in the South Pacific, had already set up a free WiFi network covering the whole island and accessible to all. It was the first country on Earth to do so. The smart move greatly benefited Niue's development, by helping retain tourists who came for sailing, and also by slowing down the rapid brain drain that was impeding the economy before.
Niue got it right long before others started to follow suit. Ten years later, governments are finally realising that connected travellers are happier travellers, and are taking steps to keep everyone better connected. Now free internet access is gradually becoming standard and the rest of the tourism industry needs to catch up. Staying connected for free will soon become an expectation, not a privilege.
More from #DTTT
In June we present:Creating an Inspiring Staycation Campaign with Visit Greenland – Weekly Tourism Impact Call: Week 12DTTT · Creating an Inspiring Staycation Campaign with Visit Greenland With the staycation set to become the new travel trend as restrictions ease, how can destinations adapt to attract the domestic market and restart tourism? This is a key question for the industry which sees the staycation as a solution. The staycation is a movement [...]#Staycation #recovery #COVID-19 #strategy #tourism #Visit Greenland
In May we present:What’s the appetite for Travel? with Beautiful Destinations – Weekly Tourism Impact Call: Week 11DTTT · What's the appetite for travel? with Beautiful Destinations Recovery is now in sight for many destinations and much is being done to improve destinations to make them safe and ready for travellers when they arrive. Whilst the focus has been on the impact to destinations for much of the pandemic, this has now [...]#recovery #COVID-19 #beautiful-destinations #industry #tourism #travel
In May we present:Sustainability Opportunities for Destination Recovery with Dr Cara Augustenborg – Weekly Tourism Impact Call: Week 10
Sustainability is a key issue for the industry as it prepares for recovery. The fast-moving pandemic has been severely disrupting tourism and its impact will change the industry, academic engagement, and customer behaviour. The question many destinations are now asking is how can we be sustainable post COVID-19? We dedicate our tenth Tourism Impact call […]#ecotourism #recovery #COVID-19 #sustainability #industry #tourism
In May we present:Digitalisation and Sustainability solutions for recovery – Weekly Tourism Impact Call: Week 9
As part of our efforts to react and support the industry, the #DTTT began hosting our popular Tourism Impact calls 2 months ago. Now going into the ninth consecutive week, we reflect on what has been an interesting and insightful journey so far. In many lively discussions, we’ve shared perspectives about COVID-19 impact, destination strategy […]#recovery #COVID-19 #sustainability #digitalisation #industry #tourism
In May we present:The Nordics COVID-19 Response
How have the Nordic countries responded to the crisis? At the #DTTT, we have seen different approaches throughout the Nordic region and wanted to find out more. In a highly insightful interview we brought together the Tourism boards representing the capital cities of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark to discuss their response to the COVID-19 […]#The Nordics #Response #COVID-19 #DMOs #marketing #strategy
In May we present:What travel will look like in the future with Doug Lansky – Weekly Tourism Impact Call: Week 8
In our highly anticipated eighth Tourism Impact call, we discussed the different approaches of destinations who are at various stages of the recovery process. Recovering destinations are now looking for innovative product solutions as restrictions begin to ease and businesses start to re-open. Whilst for other destinations their recovery plans are still at the research […]#Doug Lansky #COVID-19 #DMOs #industry #strategy #tourism