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HomeTechThe Impact of Live Streaming Tourism in Singapore: Virtual Tours and Experiences

The Impact of Live Streaming Tourism in Singapore: Virtual Tours and Experiences


1. Introduction to Live Streaming Tourism

The key to successful destination marketing on the internet depends upon customer needs and wants. The recent crisis situation observed during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 in Singapore has seen the emergence of tourism live streaming as an important promotional tool. This study investigates the significant independent variables among potential customers being self-motivated and having easy access to destination information, with the potential impacts on customers being entertained, knowledgeable, communicated, and trusted. Such live streaming tourism has become a form of virtual reality that allows potential tourists to engage and experience a destination to its fullest, in all kinds of virtual tours and experiences. This chapter discusses the typical visuals, content, stakeholders, and implications in Singapore live streaming tourism during COVID-19.

This study documents the online activities of these efforts to attract future tourists, using live-streamed videos. It focuses on two key periods during the initial months and the immediate post-pandemic lockdown days. The findings show a moderate use of streaming tools; there is the potential for collaboration between various stakeholders. This is a predominantly visual medium with natural, cultural, and historical highlights. It is influenced by videos and films. The findings reveal the types of live events and explore future directions.

This chapter provides an understanding of how tourism stakeholders and policymakers have used live streaming to promote Singapore as a tourist destination from March to November 2020. It includes the typical elements of popular images that are live streamed on social media apps and the format that was used. The impacts of live stream service on tourism in Singapore are evaluated overall. This has implications for the development of live streaming videos under normal, post-COVID-environment conditions, as there is now increasing collaboration among stakeholders that creates innovative and interactive platforms.

1.1. Definition and Significance of Live Streaming in Tourism

Live streaming Singapore has significant implications both for individual acceptance and the application to business areas. First, live streaming of any event, or in other words, “traveling without leaving home”, is seen as a technological support that can help visitors to effectively obtain information about tourist destinations from the comfort of their homes or offices. It is essential for knowledgeable decision-making, and informational demand when preparing for travel, and when tourists are satisfied with the pre-travel experience, it’s more likely that they will visit the destination at a later stage. Currently, the global tourism industry has embraced live streaming technology as the preferred means for businesses and consumers to connect at a brand level, adhering to a great variety of policies as a community performing various tourism-related functions, like museums, tour guides, and unique experiences.

Live streaming is a technology that allows video streaming from any event to mobiles and other types of devices. Together with tourism and kindergarten live streaming, it is also known as “travel live streaming” and “live streaming of kindergartens”. Since the explosion in tourism live broadcasting from 2014 to 2015, it has become a hot topic for researchers from varying disciplines such as online media and communication, cultural tourism and music entertainment, virtual tourism and tourist experience, as well as the commercial monetization of talents.

2. The Rise of Live Streaming Services

Globally, live streaming has been used to promote social interaction and participation. Socio-politically relevant events may also be live-streamed to bring the message to a potentially larger audience. Famously, media channel owners and social influencers have used platforms like Twitch, YouTube, and Facebook to broadcast events and create personal engagement with their fan communities. These include musicians who showcase their talents and personalities to the community. Additionally, famous sportsmen and sportswomen can use these platforms to provide audience engagement and service to their followers. Administering a live stream demonstrates interest and interaction with a fan base, and it can create personal rapport and audience loyalty. Businesses hold live stream events to showcase their products, services, and brands, increase their online presence, and engage with viewers. They use the live stream as a point of sale, making the purchasing of a product a seamless, natural action that occurs during the viewing process. Businesses also hold live streaming sessions to engage and educate interested customers and answer their questions during the event. Websites, blogs, influencers, YouTubers, and brands utilize individuals and the ongoing live streaming trends to release content and generate viewership.

In Singapore, live streaming has become an integral part of events, where they are streamed for various reasons. The reasons for using live streaming include allowing physically distant family members and friends to witness an event, reducing event costs, allowing individuals who prefer to remotely participate, making the event available remotely for those who are unable to travel, and physical limitations or disabilities. For local Singapore-based events, live streaming can be used to increase audience viewing participation. Live streaming increases accessibility, guaranteeing that a message and event reach the largest audience possible, and increasing attendance and visibility. Notably, organizers of local physical events have also used live streaming in order to reduce resource use and waste. This includes reducing printed programs and waste generated through events. Locally, some artists are also capitalizing on live events and selling tickets to their online performances.

2.1. Evolution of Live Stream Services in the Tourism Industry

The live stream is a way of visiting and showing destinations in real time over the web. It has been widely used as a sales and communication tool across multiple industries such as gaming, e-commerce, e-learning, social network, digital marketing, business, and entertainment, long before it became an attractive tool in the tourism industry. It can also inspire individuals who are considering traveling or resuming their traveling plans. Businesses are making discoveries on how live streaming can capitalize on technological advancements but have yet to put it to use fully and efficiently. This transition has no signs of slowing down and, after the COVID-19 pandemic severely halted tourism, resulted in the closure of many tourist attractions.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) has caused tremendous impacts on global tourism. Physical travel limitations have led to the innovation of live streaming to boost tourism through ‘traveling at home’ experience. Many industries used live streaming as a marketing tool, which boosted tourism in the tourism industry. Live streaming can serve as an efficient marketing and destination branding tool. It is interesting to investigate its impact on a tourist destination, so as to provide insights and directions for future destination management and marketing.

3. Singapore as a Leading Destination for Live Streaming Tourism

While MICE Tourism is at the cutting edge of tourism development through connectivity, this chapter argues that there is an equally important niche that has to be served. This niche is traditional tourism or leisure tourism where a visitor to the destination’s interest is only on relaxation, sightseeing, and enjoying various experiences associated with heritage, culture, lifestyle, culinary, and natural beauty. This group itself differs in visitor interest and demographic groups. While technology facilitates planning and experience capture, visitors come to experience these in person. However, especially due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the customer experience’s delivery has been disrupted as mobility has been restricted, resulting in the drastic decline of visitors. In the context of Singapore, this chapter utilizes the growth of live streaming tourism as a case study.

Tourism in Singapore experienced exponential growth since independence, particularly during the past decade. To harness and retain growth momentum, the tourism landscape constantly evolves in order to attract, capture, and retain all segments of visitors. The results are a rich tapestry of tourism products and experiences that capture the imagination of visitors. With Singapore being a leading smart city through the years, innovation and the use of technology have significantly transformed the way the tourism products and services are delivered to visitors. A major niche that emerged is Meetings, Incentive, Conferences, and Exhibitions (MICE) tourism. This sector is dominated by connectivity and the use of digital technologies.

3.1. Attractions and Experiences Offered through Live Streams

All experiences offered do not violate COVID-19 restrictions since they are in compliance with social and safe distance measures required at the time of filming.

Some examples of the ambassador-led live virtual tours include Gerrard Lin, a local aerospace enthusiast, who shares behind-the-scenes looks of both the aviation facilities in Changi Airport, while kayak enthusiast Emma Ng hosts viewers in the marine habitats of Pulau Ubin. Tour guides largely include local advocates, influencers, and online personalities, representing uniquely authentic local Singaporean interests. These are less usual known Singapore experiences for the tourists who do not have the luxury of long layovers, nor time to truly see the island of Singapore. These live virtual experiences offer them a sneak peek into local homes, communities, and interest areas with local personalities.

Experience kits include both physical and digital components. Participants can receive their experience kits (if purchased prior to the live broadcast time), thus enabling the audience to be interactive in certain locations in Singapore so they can take part in the experience in real time. Upon registration or purchase of an experience kit, participants can access the experiences through the website on the scheduled live broadcast date.

The island-wide ambassador-led tours offer a myriad of experiences across 30 hubs located all over Singapore. Hubs are physical sites where live zooming sessions are carried out in real time. These hands-on experience sessions take place in different non-specific tourism-related businesses.

The attractions and experiences offered by live streaming platforms curated by the Singapore Tourism Board include two main categories – island-wide ambassador-led tours and site-specific experience kits. These are uniquely developed for both local and international live stream viewers to experience the various facets of Singapore in real time.

4. Benefits and Challenges of Virtual Tours and Experiences

  1. Benefits and Challenges of Virtual Tours and Experiences While facing the challenges that Covid-19 pandemic brought to the world, live streaming for tourism would have many advantages for tourists. It brings wonderful experience and offers interactive communication service for tourists who are unable to travel. Tourists can watch live broadcasts and participate in the interaction anytime, anywhere. It realizes the basic service function and experience of tourism exploration. In addition, the vivid and interesting broadcasting method close to zero distances between tourists and scenic areas, which can maintain good communication, effectively enhance the bond with tourists, and make tourists familiar with scenic spots in the way of narration and introduction. It can generate whatever image is required according to the content presented, making scenic spots closer to tourists’ interest. In other words, tourists can use mobile phones, laptops, and other equipment to view the live broadcast of scenic spots and make on-demand online comments and inquiries during the viewing process, and receive timely and effective live broadcast content responses, so that scenic spots can deeply understand tourist demand, ensuring the quality of live broadcasting content and improving live broadcast quality.
  2. Introduction 2. Methodology 3. The Impact of Live Streaming Tourism in Singapore 4. Benefits and Challenges of Virtual Tours and Experiences Tourism products are fundamentally experiential. The development of technology throughout the 20th century has enabled people to travel further than their ancestors could have ever imagined. The introduction of transportation mode has brought lots of development in global tourism, technological changes have made this world a global village. Tourism was the important catalyst to expand the economies of many countries. Such has been the importance of tourism and so have been the strides in technology that a new phenomenon has emerged in the field of tourism called Virtual Tour. This paper presents an overview of the field of Virtual Tours. It provides a comprehensive the types of Virtual Tours, its technological aspects, and some of the systems that were developed to anticipate Virtual Tour and their potential use in the tourism industry. It attempts to identify the aspects to be researched in this new area and provides some suggestions for those who are interested in developing systems for Virtual Tours.

4.1. Advantages of Virtual Tourism Experiences

Gaming and education are made fun and engaging when the education tour comes with collectibles, and the wonderful visual presence of the environment is on display constantly. This adventurous pursuit poses as a form of experience in the form of a unique practice and behemoth experience. Virtual tourism experiences in the form of streaming offer audiences to have a massive hold of heritage libraries ensuring cost-effective accessibility. Meanwhile, it helps deconstruct the frequently stagnant view of heritages and instead encourages a rediscovery process. This creates a more experienced and individual understanding of the exhibit, assisting in the utilization of heritage in contemporary society that reigns with different cultures living society.

The advantage of utilizing virtual visits is numerous, particularly when a tourist has the potential of gaining a better and more interactive experience of visiting in person. It also provides accessibility to different tourist categories, such as diasporic or physically challenged individuals. The virtual experience would be able to bring forth multiple layers of historical incidents to ensure a comprehensive understanding. As the audiences interact with the storytellers, the virtual produced experience would be some kind of curator-led tour that is offered by heritage sites to educate spectators. Simultaneously, the hidden narratives of the site may also be screened, thus helping the interest level of the audiences.

4.2. Challenges and Limitations of Live Streaming in Tourism

Interacting in the virtual tours and experiences by virtual streaming are also essential for high interaction demand. However, there are some challenges to meet the appropriate level of interactiveness throughout the live streaming session. First, it might be hard to get immediate feedback on live streaming. Second, it might be a bit difficult to network a good bonding between the host or the hosts and viewers where usually scripting is necessary. Third, maintaining interactivity with audiences throughout the session might be tiring for the hosts. Consequently, following the actual live streaming, whether the viewers are less motivated to engage with the virtual content or not is an issue. Last but not least, the scheduling frequency becomes a very important factor to influence the interactive relationship.

Taking the quality of live streaming as an important consideration, first, poor network connection might lead to major issues such as a lagging broadcast. Singapore has had the fastest broadband and mobile network in the world. However, some areas in Singapore still have unstable signal strength. Like the issue during the exhibition opening at the National Museum of Singapore, visitors were competing to upload photos to social networks, which slowed down the museum’s Wi-Fi. Second, breakdown of the field is relatively less avoidable due to environmental factors. Lastly, with respect to codes of social media in the selection of virtual tours and immersive experiences in Singapore, how to meet social media content policies and make the tourism attractions not violated by respect has become a topic of concern.

5. Future Trends and Innovations in Live Streaming Tourism

Rather than simply marketing the tour as a “live broadcast,” the content of the “live feed” must be worth talking or sharing with friends, and this might move from representing experiences to supporting the way that these travelers want to create their own social relationships. This is distinct from live streaming events—other than creating social and peer networks before travel has begun. Further, we argue that due to the increasing concerns and backlash against over-tourism, the future might also be in sharing places of desire but not going there, creating a glance where the environment does not suffer the impact of what in the end is still real tourism. What future tourists might actually end up desiring could also benefit from more widespread efforts to provide access to iconic places virtually—not unlike many of the world’s iconic museums in our present day. With any of the future models, there is still a need to develop strategies to manage the live streaming of unintended negative acts that might indeed be performed during a live broadcast social network. The vast majority of the next generation travelers, perhaps, will not see the requirement to behave responsibly just because the camera is on them.

The focus of live streaming tourism is likely to shift from performance spectacles to a more co-creation model where visitors can have a say in what happens during the tour. To wit, this shift is necessary in addressing mainland Chinese perceptions of a lack of satisfaction with the existing marketing content and also the rapidly changing expectations of the younger segments of these potential tourists. This means a distinct focus on natural encounters and de-simulation. For instance, moving the live tour to quieter streets, walking through markets, engaging in a backstage tour, describing the reality as it is, without those behind-the-camera performances that are precisely what the younger segments of Chinese travelers do not want. These tours have to be simultaneously designed to combine education and entertainment and must be “one-to-many,” resulting in reduced engagement with the tourists among. Further future research might want to explore potential differences in the emotional and imagined experience origins.

5.1. Future Trends in Live Streaming Tourism

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