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Virtual Tourism Is The Most Popular Type Of Tourism In 2021

An analysis conducted by GlobalData reveals five types of tourism that dominated online conversations, with virtual tourism topping the list. By Naina Atri

To say that the COVID-19 pandemic has structurally impacted the global tourism industry is an understatement. International tourism was hit hard and uncertainty still abounds. The number of COVID-19 cases and vaccination rates determine how different country’s borders are welcoming to international tourists. For the stimulation of tourism, interests must be piqued. Governments and other stakeholders of the industry have been working hard to innovate and reignite international travel.

GlobalData‘s Social Media Analytics Platform, which tracks emerging trends among discussions on Twitter and Reddit, has revealed the top five types of tourism that are the most popular in 2021. The five, listed below, reflect active attempts made to revive the industry.

  1. Virtual
  2. Space
  3. Adventure
  4. Food 
  5. Wine

Virtual Tourism

Virtual tourism tops the list as a ‘pandemic-friendly’ alternative. It eases anxieties and overcomes travel restrictions. Reliance on technology, in general, has augmented, and the World Economic Forum suggests that the tourism industry should follow suit. Cutting-edge technology such as virtual or mixed reality (VR and MR) allow users to explore destinations from home. The National Geographic VR takes one through places like Antarctica, while countries like Germany and Maldives have invested in similar interactive projects, as reported by The Guardian. One can practically tour India in its entirety from the dining table, which is exactly what Airbnb offered in 2020.

Space Tourism

Space tourism has taken the Internet by the storm. For some, the possible fulfilment of the childhood dream of being an astronaut thrilled many. Others are less excited for what this means for the environment. Regardless, this futuristic form of tourism has many willing takers. The three most talked about commercial spaceflights are Elon Musk’s Space X, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin and Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic. In total, 16 non-professionals have been launched into space in 2021, as reported by CNBC. But, a journey to space requires quite a hefty sum – from around hundreds of thousands to tens of millions of dollars.  Fun fact – the first paying customer to go to space was an 18 year old from the Netherlands.

Adventure Tourism

Thanks to social media and the phenomenon of travel blogging, interests in adventure tourism have bolstered. Many tourist hotspots, such as Ladakh, are developing adventure activities, which promise to provide a much-needed escape from mundane, home-bound lives.

Food and Wine Tourism

Food or culinary tourism allows people to truly immerse themselves in novel cultures. The pandemic led many to push the boundaries with their home-cooked meals, with trends like dalgona coffee and online cooking classes from celebrated chefs from across the world.

And finally, ecotourism i.e. wine tourism. Tours of vineyards make for ethereal romantic getaways and exciting bachelorette parties.

In July 2021, Greece’s ministry of tourism held a two-day event in Santorini, wherein authentic wine experiences were explored, as was the future of wine tourism in the context of the pandemic. More ‘unconventional’ wine routes, like those in Azerbaijan, are being consciously promoted.  The European Institute of Cultural Routes and the Azerbaijan Tourism Board decided to jointly establish the Iter Vitis in the Caucasus, which crosses Azerbaijan, Georgia and Russia.

While tourism is still facing a slump, the future prospects of the industry seem riveting.

Related: Naturalist And Travel Specialist, Phalgun K Patel, Talks About Wildlife Tourism During COVID-19


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