Virtual Reality (VR) in Travel & Tourism Industry (2021) – Thematic Research

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Virtual reality (VR) is a technology that immerses the user in an entirely artificial world, which has the illusion of reality. The global VR market, worth nearly $5 billion in 2020, expanding at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 25% over the 10-year period, according to GlobalData forecasts. The market remains heavily gaming oriented, but VR is gaining traction in areas such as social media and live streaming. Consumer-focused VR companies are striving for a semi-mythical killer app that would make VR a mainstream hit. Meanwhile, VR headset makers are increasingly exploring growth among enterprises.

VR has been around for over six decades, in one form or another, but is still not a mainstream technology. Both VR hardware and software have evolved significantly in recent years, but issues like latency, nausea, high prices, privacy concerns, and a dearth of compelling content prevent widespread adoption. While technologies such as 5G, cloud services, and motion tracking are used to address latency and nausea issues, improving content, and developing effective data privacy practices will be paramount for VR’s success. In the past, VR was perceived as a gimmick within the travel and tourism industry, but a combination of technological advancements and macroeconomic impacts (such as COVID-19) have meant that VR is now becoming an important part of marketing strategies, the experience economy, employee training, and sustainability. The technology will continue to lose its reputation as a gimmick as younger generations that are more familiar with this technology (such as Gen Z) continue to grow in importance as a consumer segment.

What are the market dynamics of virtual reality in travel & tourism?

North America is the leading global region in terms of creating travel and tourism jobs related to VR and AR. The US and Canada are responsible for over half (57%) of VR and AR jobs related to the tourism space. A company in the US that continues to place a strong focus on VR and AR is Walt Disney. As this company is heavily involved in the experience economy, it currently has 201 active jobs and 112 closed jobs related to VR and AR to ensure experiences are always being enhanced.

Many tourism-related companies are utilizing VR to create novel experiences and enhance the experience economy. The addition of new experiences is especially important for cruise companies that are now leaning on advanced forms of technology to inspire repeat visits and attract new customers. This can be seen in Royal Caribbean’s robotic bartender. Using smart technology, such as VR and robotics, not only enhances other operational musts such as data collection, but they also create a buzz around the company that can often lead to positive PR and brand positioning. This is supported by increase in patent filings of VR in travel & tourism. Amid COVID-19 lockdowns, many tourism boards, hotels, and tour operators were found adopting VR. The German National Tourist Board took people on virtual trips across Germany and parts of its Baltic and North Sea coasts via Quest Rift headsets; Tour operators also use VR to provide experiences such as snorkeling in the Maldives and wild safaris in Kenya. In 2020, amid COVID-19 lockdowns, many tourism boards, hotels, and tour operators also were found adopting VR.

Which are the key players in virtual reality in travel & tourism sector?

Best Western, Comcast, Delta Air Lines, Fraport, Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Hyatt Hotels, Marriott International, Qatar Airways and others are few of the key players in travel and tourism. Many travel and tourism companies likely acknowledged the increased usage of this technology to recreate touristic experiences, which encouraged further investment in VR as a result. The technology-based companies are ByteDance (parent company of Pico), DPVR, Meta (formerly known as Facebook and parent company of Oculus), HTC, Microsoft, Sony, Unity, Valve, Walt Disney and others.

Virtual reality in travel & tourism, by key players

Virtual reality in travel & tourism, by key players

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Market report scope

Travel and tourism key players Best Western, Comcast, Delta Air Lines, Fraport, Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Hyatt Hotels, Marriott International and Qatar Airways
Technology-based companies ByteDance (parent company of Pico), DPVR, Meta (formerly known as Facebook and parent company of Oculus), HTC, Microsoft, Sony, Unity, Valve and Walt Disney


  • This report provides an overview of VR usage in travel and tourism.
  • It identifies the need for VR to enhance internal and external operations.
  • This report provides a detailed industry analysis of VR in travel & tourism, discussing how it is being utilized in a range of different ways.
  • It highlights travel and tourism companies that are leading in the VR theme, such as Best Western, Delta Air Lines, and Fraport.

Reasons to Buy

  • Understand the impact of VR on the tourism industry, using use cases to help you understand how you can adapt and understand this theme.
  • Assess the strategies that companies are adopting when using VR.
  • Discover companies that are leading in the space.
  • To view real-world trends created by the adoption of VR from across the travel & tourism space.
  • GlobalData’s thematic research ecosystem is a single, integrated global research platform that provides an easy-to-use framework for tracking all themes across all companies in all sectors. It has a proven track record of identifying the important themes early, enabling companies to make the right investments ahead of the competition, and secure that all-important competitive advantage.

Marriott International
Walt Disney
Hyatt Hotels
Qatar Airways
Los Angeles World Airports
Shanghai International Airport

Table of Contents

| Contents

Executive Summary


Technology Briefing


Industry Analysis

Travel and Tourism Industry Analysis

Value Chain


Sector Scorecards


Further Reading

| Our Thematic Research Methodology

| About GlobalData

| Contact Us

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