MANY’s support for a rural tourism recovery through connectivity

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Visitor management with augmented reality overlays.

The past year has had a huge impact on the Yorkshire tourism industry, which historically brings £9 billion a year to the local economy and employs 225,000.

At Flo-culture, we have seen how businesses within the tourism industry need an online presence so they can attract and keep customers engaged while they are at home, so they will visit in the future.

The lack of reliable digital connectivity in areas of rural North Yorkshire has put many businesses at a significant disadvantage.

Tourism has been heavily affected by the COVID-19 crisis – the OECD Tourism Committee in December stated that there was an estimated drop in revenue of more than two-thirds in 2020.

However, Visit Britain (Feb 2021) also predicts that tourism, particularly that catering to day-visitors in a rural setting, will be one of the fastest to recover.

To take advantage of the expected increase in “stay-cations”, businesses will need to ensure they meet their customers’ expectations for a day out – and high up on that list, is the demand for reliable mobile connectivity.

Mobile connectivity can make the attractions of Yorkshire more sustainable.

The lack of mobile coverage at many rural visitor attractions is one of the most frequently cited reasons for a negative on-line review.

Mobile Access North Yorkshire (MANY), part of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) £200 million 5G Testbed and Trial programme, has heard first-hand that visitors have walked out or given negative reviews on Trip Advisor when they realise that there is no connectivity.

This has an obvious negative “first-glance” effect, taking away from any “other than that it was awesome!” caveat a reviewer might subsequently make.

Yet, 5G can offer so much more.

5G is the wireless technology that will support the development of new innovative solutions and additional sources of income.

The industry will benefit from making tourism more enjoyable, accessible and personalised for tourists and travellers. 5G will allow attractions to use mixed reality to transport visitors back many centuries immersing them in the environment of historic places during their heyday.

Visitors will have the opportunity to interact and integrate with the attraction they are visiting in a fun and educational way, directly on their own smartphones.

5G can drive a business’s long-term strategy.

Stewart Pearson, commercial director at Fl0-culture.

With 5G, businesses will be able to collect real-time data, providing them with immediate access to critical visitor information and behaviours, giving them the ability to make informed decisions.

In these times where the thoughts of COVID-19 are never far from the mind, 5G will provide attractions with the ability to monitor and manage visitor flow in real-time.

The leap from “not connected” to “adequately connected” to “Superfast 5G” in a short period of may seem like an unattainable dream for those without reliable connectivity at the moment.

In fact, once basic connectivity is in place, the path to adding 5G is not as complicated as it seems and will bring a multitude of benefits.

The introduction of 5G is of wide benefit to the network of businesses an attraction supports through bringing people to the area or encouraging them staying for longer. Connect one and it causes a ripple effect to more.

 

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