Tourism in developing countries contributes significantly to foreign exchange earnings and economic growth, involves key sectors such as services, transport and hospitality, and promotes local employment and welfare. This sector is essential for the preservation of cultural and natural heritage. However, a major issue that has come to the fore after the coronavirus outbreak is overtourism. Overtourism is defined as an excessive increase in the number of tourists and the overcrowding of an area due to the effects of large-scale tourism on the population. This phenomenon causes environmental degradation, social disorder, traffic congestion, and waste management problems. Clear examples of the negative effects of overtourism can be seen in places such as Maya Bay in Thailand and the islands of Flores and Bali in Indonesia, where the negative impact on the environment and local communities is significant.
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Metaverse tourism is considered an innovative solution for developing countries to attract foreign exchange and develop their economies and cultures without sacrificing authenticity or preserving local culture. By leveraging virtual technology, these countries can showcase their cultural and natural richness to the world. The use of the Metaverse allows the creation of virtual markets for local products, employment opportunities for virtual tour guides, and culturally rich paid exhibitions, contributing to the preservation of culture. These economic benefits can be reinvested in heritage maintenance and physical infrastructure development, alleviating the burden of overtourism while inviting tourists inspired by virtual experiences to visit in person. . This approach paves the way for sustainable and inclusive economic growth that is in line with cultural preservation and national identity.
Metaverse virtual experiences enriched with stories and narratives from local experts create jobs while promoting cultural identity. Such initiatives open up new economic opportunities without causing the negative effects of excessive physical visits. By working with local businesses to offer promotions to tourists who visit in real life after a virtual experience, you can encourage more responsible and sustainable visits. This holistic approach not only maintains the integrity of the environment and cultural heritage, but also fosters a deeper appreciation of authentic cultural heritage.
With the right strategies, metaverse tourism can open up a new world of sustainable and profitable tourism for developing countries. Effective strategies include developing engaging virtual content that reflects cultural richness and natural beauty. Collaboration with the technology industry is essential to building a strong and accessible infrastructure. Effective digital marketing using social media and other digital platforms is also important. Involving local communities in metaverse development can ensure economic benefits. It is also important to maintain cultural and natural protection within the Metaverse Experience and to respect and promote heritage preservation.
Metaverse tourism offers great potential for developing countries not only to reduce overtourism but also to create new sources of foreign exchange. Metaverse allows tourists to overcome distance and time constraints and access standard experiences at more affordable prices. This increases foreign exchange potential without limiting the number of visitors and maximizing physical capacity. Historic and protected places can be preserved as authentic, but the tourists who physically visit tend to be of a higher quality, middle to upper class. This approach offers broad and sustainable economic opportunities while protecting cultural heritage and sites.
Metaverse Tourism is aligned with ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) principles and globally driven net-zero emissions targets. This approach not only offers an innovative solution to the overtourism problem, but also has the potential to be an important catalyst for sustainable development. Investors and stakeholders in the tourism and technology sectors should seize this opportunity as a profitable investment in the future, protecting cultural and natural heritage while promoting more inclusive and sustainable experiences. Through Metaverse Tourism, we can take an important step towards more responsible and environmentally friendly tourism.