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CARBS Business Review

Metaverse Tourism: Boon or Bane for Pakistan?

Rameeza Ejaz

05 July, 2023

Metaverse Tourism Boon or Bane for Pakistan?

The nexus between tourism and the host economy’s growth is obvious. Being the largest service industry globally, it has enormous significance to the world economy, and the world has witnessed countries like the Maldives raising their economies solely based on tourism.

 

However, this burgeoning sector necessitates effective planning, investment, and administration on behalf of the government. Unfortunately, despite realizing the transformative potential of tourism, the government of Pakistan has its sole focus on increasing the number of tourists, ignoring issues like tourist management, sanitation, energy supply, traffic management, and public awareness.

 

The tragic Murree incident of 2022 has unfortunately proven that Pakistan is not prepared for mass international tourism yet. This lack of sufficient infrastructure, mismanagement, and bad image in terms of law and order is now fuelled by pandemic that has hit the tourism industry hard in 2020-2021.

 

On the other hand, this global pandemic, coupled with a boost in successful use cases of metaverse across various industries, has brought metaverse tourism into the limelight. The metaverse is an inescapable evolution of the internet, where people virtually do anything they do in the real world through their digital avatars.

 

Metaverse tourism is gaining popularity, with expected revenue of USD 188.24 billion in 2026. The success of Thomas Cook’s “Try before You Fly” shows how the future of tourism will be dominated by this metaverse.

 

Try before you buy, and Delight in Indefinitely

 

Pakistan has always been on lists of top tourist destinations (Forbes 2019; Condé Nast Traveller 2020). It has spectacular scenery and breathtaking mountains, Hindu and Sikh pilgrimage destinations, and marks of ancient civilizations. In addition, it offers activities like paragliding, desert safaris in cars and camels, rock climbing, hunting, and other adventure sports.

 

Nonetheless, various issues combined with a negative image in terms of law and order are harming the industry. Hence, building three-dimensional simulations of real places will result in novel experiences and ways for individuals to choose lodging and activities during metaverse travel.

 

Both business and leisure visitors value the chance to “try before you buy.” Importantly, it does not replace physical tours; it just inspires you to select a specific place and complete the booking process. Visitors can not only select their desired destination but also recreate their experience post-visit. Of course, this would result in a new set of job opportunities for IT graduates.

 

Overall, metaverse tourism is the most imaginative use case of the metaverse, and the world will soon witness myriad examples like South Korea’s “Metaverse Seoul” project, as many countries and companies are keen to capitalise on it. The “digital natives” of generation Z and Alphas, the future of the world, would certainly prefer metaverse-based experiences.

 

The importance of creating metaverse tourism for Pakistan cannot be denied. Soon it would become a benchmark, and tourists would prefer destinations with digital twins. Thus, remote tourist destinations, which do not even have standard amenities, will have problems attracting foreign tourists. So, all the tourist traffic would be directed toward countries offering all these amenities plus metaverse tourism.

 

“Boon Today, Bane Tomorrow!”

 

To sum up, metaverse tourism possesses the same characteristics as any other business opportunity does. It would not only serve as an upscale promotional tool but also as a new revenue stream for government and business. It is not that other issues are unimportant and should not take precedence; rather, this particular opportunity should not be passed up. If we are not planning to get a boon from it today, it will become a bane tomorrow.

Rameeza Ejaz

Rameeza Ejaz

Rameeza Ejaz is a lecturer in University of Gujrat and a current PhD student of Superior University. Her academic interests include tourism sector of Pakistan, with a special focus on metaverse tourism.

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Please note that all opinions, views, statements, and facts conveyed in the article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the official policy or position of Chaudhry Abdul Rehman Business School (CARBS). CARBS assumes no liability or responsibility for any errors or omissions in the content. When interpreting and applying the information provided in the article, readers are advised to use their own discretion and judgement.

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