'Cloud tourism' gaining popularity in China amid pandemic

COVID-19 pandemic control measures have disrupted travel plans for many, but they've also boosted a form of travel known as "cloud tourism" in China, where through the internet people can enjoy a tourist's experience from the comfort of their homes.

The Canton Tower, the third tallest tower in the world and a landmark destination in Guangzhou, is one of the tourist destinations that offers various types of "cloud tourism." From a VR online tour, short online videos to live-streams, the tourist destination hopes the internet can help promote its brand, especially during the pandemic.

"We need to be even more creative, because we can't promote our brand to many customers face-to-face. Therefore, we need to introduce our products and Guangzhou City through cloud tourism, and after the pandemic, tourists should have already developed a deep understanding of our scenic spot," said Li Minghua, the deputy secretary of the General Party Branch of Canton Tower Cultural Tourism Development Co. Ltd. "I believe this will lead to a large number of tourists coming to Canton Tower,” Li added.

Li said a "slow live-streaming" that lasts for around half a day, every day, to showcase the view of Guangzhou from more than 400 meters above the ground is one of Canton Tower's most popular cloud tourism products, as it is the only live-streaming room that's able to get a view of all of Guangzhou. Since the livestream was launched in 2020, hundreds of millions of people have watched it.

Canton Tower is hardly alone in its appeal for cloud tourism. Ctrip, the online travel agency, also is a tourism-related livestreaming platform. For the first four months of this year, viewing volume for livestreams organized by Ctrip itself increased by 156 percent compared to the same period last year, and for livestreams broadcast by third parties on the platform, users' viewing volume increased by 91 percent.

"At present, many people may be going through home quarantine, so they have a strong desire to 'go out.' Watching travel livestreams can relax their mood and relieve their anxiety and pressure​s from staying at home. For example, watching a tour guide ... can give them an immersive experience," said Li Dong, the director of the public affairs department of the South China Region Office from Ctrip's parent company Trip.com Group.

Li Dong said big, well-known tourist destinations like Disney remain the most popular​, while lesser-known scenic spots are hoping more creative content and interactive experiences will help them stand out from the crowd.

This news comes from: CGTN

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