Free WiFi

Opinions: 

Travel Tech

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.

Discussion

comments powered by Disqus

More from #DTTT

  • In June we present:
    Live: #DTTTCampus

    #DTTTCampus is here again and we are live from the ground in Oslo, Norway. We are so excited to be welcoming a range of speakers from around the world, from DMOs to travel film directors and industry content powerhouses. We are all set up in the newly transformed Høymagasinet and ready to get started! Stay […]

  • In May we present:
    Meet…Heili Klandorf-Järvsoo from Estonia Tourist Board

    Heili Klandorf-Järvsoo is the Head of Tourism Marketing at Visit Estonia, and she will be joining us at #DTTTCampus alongside a panel of other DMOs to share insights on the in’s and out’s of Visit Estonia’s ‘Storytellers Nest’.

  • In May we present:
    Meet…Kevin Wright from Travel Oregon

    In a world of always-on content, information overload and the ever-changing digital consumer, how do you stand out from the competition and most importantly, reach your audience? Kevin Wright, Vice President of Global Marketing for Travel Oregon will be joining us at #DTTTCampus in June to talk about Reflecting on the Role of Content to […]

  • designing signature experiences
    In May we present:
    Meet…Gloria Loree from Destination Canada

    We caught up with Gloria from Destination Canada ahead of #DTTTCampus to get a sneak peek into what we can expect from her talk on Designing Signature Experiences to Build Brand and Narrative.

    #brand experiences #destination canada #brand narrative #brand stories
  • In May we present:
    Meet…Daniel Bury VR Filmmaker

    Daniel Bury is one of the youngest & most up and coming creators in the world of VR film-making, travelling the world to create immersive experiences through unique 360 and VR storytelling.

    #VR experiences #virtual reality experiences #daniel bury #filmmaker #dtttcampus #virtual reality #Vr
  • In May we present:
    5 Reasons Why to Visit #DTTTCampus 2019

    In short, #DTTTCampus is a full exploration into the destination experience, with valuable insights on navigating the digital landscape and the ever-changing consumer behaviour of travellers today.

    #dttt campus #keynote speakers #workshops #destination experience #oslo #destination marketing #Visit Oslo
Show more
-->
© 2017 Digital Tourism Think Tank

Digital Tourism Think Tank logo imge