Responsible and authentic travel has always relied on crowdsourced information. And it is crowdsourced information that can regenerate tourism in its time of need.
Crowdsourced Information Has Always Been Essential To Travel
Accessing reliable information from the travel crowd has been essential for travellers since long before the Internet. Over the last 20 years it’s become integral to how we travel.
Forums, blogs, reviews, social media posts — travellers take information from the crowd to decide what to do, where to eat, where to visit and how to travel smartly. In-destination advice is equally valuable, whether from a hotel concierge, another traveller or a local. It is natural for us to ask questions and seek reliable answers from people who know best, people who live or have visited the destination, even if these questions are asked via a Google search.
Travel is our most precious time of the year. We demand authentic information to make informed decisions so we don’t waste this precious time. That’s why we consult many different sources and primarily trust people who are there, or have been there. They are the people who know the answers.
Imagine following a travel guide written by somebody who had never lived or visited the destination? Imagine taking a holiday in Turkey and planning what to do based on the latest Turkey news report? Instead of the news we search for traveller reports, in the form of social media, guides, forums, perhaps TripAdvisor.
Many travellers will have a plan of what to do and where to visit, but this will change completely after they arrive in the destination and take advice from locals. They ask the same questions, but they get even more authentic answers, because they know the person they ask is really there, not just making it up from afar.
Crowdsourced Information is Even More Essential Now
In these challenging and changing times, crowdsourced travel information is more important than ever. It’s the same travel crowd, but our questions have changed. We no longer need to know what to do, we first need to know if it is safe, how to stay safe, and where else it is safe to travel.
Who can best tell you whether it is safe to travel in Costa Rica now? The same people who told you what to do or where to eat in Costa Rica — the people who are in Costa Rica and best understand the local situation.
Before Covid-19 travellers used social media, forums, online guides and local people for their travel information. So let’s use these crowd sources of information now, so tourism can restart and travellers can understand where it’s safe to travel.
This is How Crowdsourcing Information Can Make Tourism Safe, So People Can Travel More and Travel Now
- Bring enough of the travel crowd into one place, so their knowledge and information feeds into a single app for travellers.
- Ask these users to update information about their destination, in the form of simple tasks and questions on their phone. For example: Do you wear a facemask? Do you need a PCR test to enter the country? Is there a quarantine on arrival?
- Use an algorithm to verify the results and keep it within an acceptable margin for error.
- Use trusted community editors to confirm any significant changes to the information being published.
Waze is a great example of how this works. The traffic situation is similar to Covid-19 and travel — rapid changes, confusing restrictions, closed roads and reopened roads vs closed borders and reopened borders. Drivers update the app with simple tasks and other drivers can change their route accordingly.
Travel More, Travel Now
Leveraging crowdsourced information will enable travellers to stay safe. Travellers are lost in changing and confusing restrictions, they don’t know where or how to travel, nor how to stay safe on their journey.
But travel is safe now. In fact, many people can travel to a destination where infection rates are significantly lower than their home. And with precautions such as negative PCR tests, travellers are not spreading coronavirus. How can travellers be responsible for spreading coronavirus in destinations where coronavirus has already spread?
People are responsible. Travellers are responsible. And with access to crowdsourced information, tourism can restart safely.