Social Media Privacy: Useful Tips to Safeguarding your Tourism Business

Security Shield Protection Privacy Network Concept

This is not new. Social media has transformed the way we communicate as individuals. You know this. However, what we may not know is when to draw the line on what data we decide to keep private or share with the public. Whether you blog, post, like or update information about your organization’s procedures and services, there is one component that must be addressed: safety and security. The connection between travel and technology is closer than ever, with businesses constantly turning to social media to market their services and reach customers in a more intimate and personal way.  At the company level, our reliance on social media as a marketing tool makes it imperative to protect our digital assets, as well as our brand reputation. Passwords, login and access points, controls and administration must all be considered from a security perspective. Here are some ways to protect your digital presence when using social media in your business.

  1. Update your company’s social media privacy settings

First things first. When was the last time you updated your privacy settings on your social media accounts? As these change periodically, it is important to check your privacy settings at least every 90 days to ensure that you control what information you allow fans to view about your business. This survey discovered that 69% of online social networking account owners are apprehensive about security on social networking sites, yet only 31% of them updated their privacy settings within the last 90 days. Not updating your privacy settings can make your fan page an open target for social engineering, data and identity theft. Additionally, unlike your personal Facebook profile or Twitter account, you are less likely to know a large number of the “friends” and “fans” on your business page. While you can’t assess every single person, you can however be protected by taking a few moments to select the privacy settings that will be most suitable for your business. Click on the following social media platforms to read more about how you can adjust your privacy settings by viewing each platform’s data policy:




  1. Beware of Social Media Scams

According to this report released in 2014 by the Organization of American States (OAS), Latin American and Caribbean nations account for five of the top ten countries spending the most time on social networks. Users can often be at risk to scams on social media sites, lured by a false sense of security conveyed by the presence of many friends online. Fake offers, such as those claiming to give away prizes, accounted for the largest number of malicious incidents impacting Facebook users in 2013 with 81 percent in 2013 compared to 56 percent in 2012. It is also wise be on the lookout for criminals impersonating your business. They often use legitimate logos and offer favorable travel deals, enticing users to complete application forms asking for personal information, including credit card numbers which are charged right away. To control this, consider using a free Google feature known as Google Alerts. Instead of taking time away from your business to conduct constant Internet searches, Google Alerts allows you to quickly set and receive email alerts of search results and news stories that match keywords you specify, such as your own name or your business name. To enter your search query, create, and manage the details of your alerts, visit

  1. Utilize multi-factor authentication

Multi-factor authentication requires the user to identify themselves in various ways when signing in. When enabled, the social platform sends a verification code to the user’s phone as a text message. This code must be entered online, before access is granted. From a business security point of view, when multi-factor authentication is enabled, if an account is accessed from an unknown device or IP address, the administrator will automatically be notified of an unauthorized attempt to access the account. Utilizing multi-factor authentication to protect company social media accounts prohibits access to a certain group of people who need approval from the account administrator and helps safeguard the account from being hacked.

  1. Create strong passwords

When developing your company’s social media account passwords, be sure to use a variety of alpha-numeric characters, including special characters and spaces, if possible. Weak passwords such as “123456” or “password” simply won’t make the cut, yet surprisingly they were some of the most common passwords found in the LinkedIn data breach back in 2012. The number of social media accounts hacked is actually quite staggering. It is recommended to use brief but complex phrases such as “1Kn0wN0w” or any other phrase that has a minimum of eight characters in length and contains at least ¾ of the following components:

  • Uppercase Letters
  • Lowercase Letters
  • Numbers
  • Symbols

Closing Thoughts

This 2015 Trustwave Global Security Report highlights that the hospitality industry is one of the top three industries most frequently targeted by cybercrime. Attacks involve theft of card holder data and personally identifiable information such as data held by hotels including contact details, travel plans, birth dates, passport data and personal preferences—which can all have the potential to be used in fraud and extortion. Although this post focused specifically on social media privacy methods, it does in fact fall under the security of your company’s IT systems. To protect them, implement a cyber risk management policy and ensure that it is a part of your company’s governance framework.

It is also useful to carry out regular risk assessments and act on the results when vulnerabilities are recognized. This can help you to avoid costs incurred as a result of a security breach as well as the negative publicity about your brand in the event of a cyberattack.  Protecting your information is an essential prerequisite for staying in business!








Statement on the Effect of Hurricane Matthew

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) is deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life and the extensive damage inflicted on our member countries and neighbours by the dangerous Hurricane Matthew, described as the most powerful storm to hit the Caribbean in a decade. Even in its weaker form as a tropical storm it inflicted loss.

Our prayers are with the Government and People of Haiti where the death toll has soared to more than 400 and where there is still not full recovery from the destructive earthquake of 2010.

We also express our prayers and concerns for The Bahamas – which still has not received the all-clear and which has been recovering from last year’s Hurricane Joaquin. We await a full assessment of the damage in The Bahamas, as well as in St. Vincent and the Grenadines where a young man lost his life when Matthew struck as a tropical storm.

Several other CTO member countries, including Cuba, Dominica, Jamaica and Saint Lucia have been impacted by the storm; and while we are thankful that there was no loss of life in those countries, we are conscious of the fact that they have suffered some level of damage. Still, we are thankful that life is getting back to normal in those countries and they are open for business.

For the worst affected countries the impact, both physical and psychological, will be long-lasting. We offer our sincerest condolences to the families of all those who lost their lives and to those who are grieving their loss, and we assure our support to those who are touched in one way or another.

It is evident that in the aftermath of the storm the immediate challenge is to alleviate suffering and provide the necessary support. In the days and weeks ahead we at the CTO and throughout our member countries in the Caribbean will work with our private sector partners the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association and others, to do whatever is necessary to offer assistance and to coordinate relief efforts.

We have immense confidence in the strength and resolve of our people to prevail.

World Tourism Day Message


The Caribbean Tourism Organization is pleased to join the international community of nations in celebrating World Tourism Day 2016. This year’s theme: ‘Tourism for All – Promoting Universal Accessibility’, reminds us of the need to ensure that all persons, including those living with disabilities, have equal access to tourism experiences, tourism business opportunities and employment in the industry.

As a region, it is important to be aware that accessibility in tourism is a shared responsibility, which warrants consistent and conscientious effort by all parties involved in the tourism value chain. This requires that countries and destinations – and the industry as a whole – promote accessibility for all in the physical environment, in transport systems, in tourist and business facilities and in the availability of services and opportunities.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization encourages its members to invest in the necessary training, improvements to infrastructure and facilities and adoption of the new information communication technologies which are available and can contribute to enhancing both business and destination competitiveness.

We believe that making tourism more accessible is a moral and social responsibility which speaks to the need to treat everyone with due courtesy, care and consideration. We are also confident that the benefits to be gained by countries and businesses that embrace the accessibility for all philosophy, far outweigh the required investments and will result in added value and a competitive advantage in the global tourism market. And it is simply the right thing to do.

Making tourism more accessible means creating the opportunity for any individual, regardless of his or her physical limitation, circumstance or age, to function independently and with dignity and respect, by making available appropriately designed tourism facilities, attractions and environments. It also requires a zero tolerance policy on discrimination, prejudice or abuse both in relation to the delivery of services to guests and in the management and treatment of staff.

 In our commitment to position ourselves to be the world’s most desirable year round, warm weather destination, our attention must be focused on the needs of every citizen and every traveler, as we work to make the Caribbean truly accessible for all.

The Sharing Economy & Its Impact on Caribbean Tourism

Vector illustration in trendy flat linear style - sharing econom

The marketplace is evolving. Ten years ago no one imagined homeowners opening their doors and welcoming strangers to bunk at their tropical beach bungalows or private cozy homes for affordable rates. Forget about standing out in the street waving frantically to flag down a taxicab or worrying about having enough change to hop on a bus. Those days are over. Travelers now have the luxury of reserving these arrangements with a simple click of a button. Technology has sparked an extraordinary consumer-led movement in the travel industry with the swift emergence of ‘the sharing economy’. Consumers now have more travel choices and can easily buy, compare and access them at any given time.

Organizations that operate in the sharing economy don’t own assets and don’t offer services directly to consumers. Instead, they operate as third-party clearinghouses, allowing property owners and individuals to generate revenue from their unused assets and time. Two of the well-known players of the sharing economy in the travel industry include Uber for transportation services and Airbnb for accommodations. Both are influencing a significant shift in consumer behavior and expectations, while also challenging existing regulatory frameworks. Although we’re focusing on those two companies, the sharing economy space is also occupied by VRBO, HomeAway and others on the accommodation side, while in the transportation sector Uber has a competitor called Lyft.

How has the sharing economy impacted Caribbean tourism?

According to this report by the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA), the sharing economy accommodations are growing every day. By February 2016, Airbnb reported more than 25,000 listings in the Caribbean. Early in 2015, Cuba was added to Airbnb’s inventory and in March 2016 there were over 1,000 listings. In Aruba during the 12 months between December 2014 and December 2015, the number of visitors using non-traditional accommodations (private homes, apartments, villas, condominiums) went from 24% to 33%. The number of visitor nights increased from 27% of the total to 32%. In 2015 in St. Lucia, over 900 nights per month were booked with Airbnb. Airbnb is forecasting a 17 percent year-to-year growth in visitors to the island using its services.

These listings alone, however do not tell the full story in terms of room availability. While some short-term rentals are available year-round, the majority have black-out dates and are only available for a certain period of the year. Nonetheless, Airbnb’s 25,000 Caribbean property listings can represent 52,500 additional rooms. Shawn Sullivan, Public Policy Lead for Central American & the Caribbean stated at this year’s CTO State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC) in Barbados that the Caribbean is an important market for Airbnb and that growth is occurring in potential key markets including Barbados, Aruba, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. For example in Barbados, there are currently 500 active hosts on Airbnb who typically earn $4,000 USD from guests staying on average 2.2 nights at Airbnb properties. To date, these listings have contributed to 13,000 additional guests arriving to Barbados.

It is evident that the sharing economy has developed new micro-entrepreneurial opportunities for engaging more individuals in the tourism industry and expanding the geographic reach of options for the traveler. Including more stakeholders in the tourism industry has the potential to benefit everyone. However, the entire impact on traditional hotels is yet to be determined. Reports released in 2016 by Goldman Sachs and Smith Travel Research indicated mixed findings. STR suggests that there has been little impact, while the Goldman Sachs report reveals there has been a negative impact.

Further data also suggest that travel has increased due to new offerings through the sharing economy. It is evident that more vacation home rental travelers are visiting non-traditional tourist areas and spending more on tours, attractions, cultural offerings, food and beverage and excursions. Some hotels have also indicated increased spending in spas and restaurants from these travelers.

What does it mean for the future of the tourism industry?

The debates around Airbnb and Uber indicate that technology and commerce have developed more quickly than legislation. Consequently, travel companies and authorities are facing various challenges as traditional business and regulatory models are disappearing before our eyes. Now we are beginning to take action. We already understand that we need to be more flexible; therefore workspaces, hotel rooms and rental cars are becoming available on a timelier basis and in essence, becoming more “shareable”. The sharing economy will result in new marketplaces, new booking processes, new partnerships and new connections for those who are smart enough to embrace it.

During last week’s SOTIC, Frank Comito, CEO of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association highlighted that with the support of some sharing economy companies like Airbnb, more global destinations have changed legislation to implement the taxation of home vacation stays. While this has assisted with local revenue collections, possibilities for leakage and non-payment by vacation homeowners are prevalent. The opportunity for Caribbean Governments, which are seeking new revenue sources, is significant.

Moreover, traditional businesses including hotels and licensed taxis are governed by strict safety and operational standards. Currently, standards in the home rental and informal taxi business are lenient and there is a concern that consumer safety and well-being may be at risk as a result. This also applies to the hosts and drivers of the sharing economy who are also viewed to be in situations of potential jeopardy. BeepCab, a new company owned by tech-savvy Caribbean entrepreneurs attempting to bridge the gap between the unknown driver and the established, licensed taxicab is on its way to becoming the pioneer in online taxi booking in the Caribbean.

BeepCab, not unlike Uber, is a mobile booking App; but it allows you to book taxis via your mobile phone and be served by registered taxi drivers. The App is free to download and there is no extra fee added to your standard taxi fare.

Normally, businesses in the sharing economy are operating under regulations and standards that are below the requirements applicable to commercial activities. While vacation homes should not be painted with the same brush as hotels that must function under strict operational standards, they must be held to a greater level of responsibility than properties only intended for residential use. This will assist in protecting the reputation of a destination, as well as the reputation of traditional service providers and the sharing economy businesses themselves.

Airbnb has demonstrated leadership with the establishment of its own hospitality standards with the implementation of a Community Compact in 2015. By working with tourism boards and associations in a growing number of jurisdictions the company has helped to address new opportunities and matters of mutual interest.

Embracing technology and innovation while appropriately monitoring and regulating various aspects of the sharing economy will become a priority for the region’s Governments, industry associations and affected companies for the foreseeable future.






Caribbean Brand Champions

A former secretary general of the Caribbean Tourism Organization and one of the most brilliant marketing minds of the Caribbean, Vincent Vanderpool- Wallace, used to describe the Caribbean as the world’s best-known, unowned brand. I believe he felt that as familiar as the world was with the name Caribbean, someone still needed to take charge of the brand Caribbean. The brand needed to be owned and given a mission, a purpose and some goals. It needed to be championed. Someone listened, at least for a while. More on that in a minute.

The temptation is great to get all enmeshed in a debate about what a brand really is, what it means within the context of the Caribbean and whether anyone can actually own it. The discussion could go on forever about whether a brand represents a promise to meet certain expectations or whether it is a reputation – a set of criteria which define the entity. Does the brand offer customers ‘will do’ assurances, or does it comfort them with the knowledge of past successes? Once we wrestle our way out of those questions, yet another two confront us: What really is the Caribbean brand? And who has the right to own it?

Let’s agree that opinions will always vary on those questions, but there is general acceptance that brands need to be championed. In fact, brands absolutely thrive when they have champions. To be truly effective the champions themselves need to be passionate, believable and competent. They need to represent the brands well. Anyone who witnessed the performance of the world’s finest athletes at the just-concluded Rio Olympics must surely have felt a burst of pride every time his or her country’s brand dominated the competition.  Those athletes, champions all, displayed the attributes we ascribe to brand champions. To those who represented the Caribbean we especially offer our kudos whether or not they ended up on the medal stands. Of course those who did achieve medal status deserve our region’s highest accolades. This article provides a recap of the top 10 performances from our Caribbean athletes this year at Rio.  Hail to the king of them all, Jamaica’s unstoppable Usain Bolt. What Bolt does as a champion for Jamaica and the Caribbean goes far beyond mere brand-recognition. He has gone deep into the territory of creating a certain expectation of Jamaican athletes; an expectation which might actually not be exceeded anytime soon!

While Olympians and other world-class athletes are of course champions in the literal sense, brand champions are all around us. They are our leaders, our CEOs, our staff and sometimes our customers. Over the years the branding of the Caribbean’s tourism product has benefited hugely from champions who were indeed passionate, believable and competent. Mr. Vanderpool-Wallace is one of those. Their successes are a matter of public record.

In 1993, the CTO released an advertising campaign that obtained funding from 28 countries, hotels, airlines, cruise lines and tour operators. The campaign consisted of creating 60-second commercials to generate awareness of multiple destinations showcasing the region’s diversity beyond sun, sand and sea. The commercials did well and were remembered for their use of the Beach Boy’s song “Kokomo”. The combined funding method and success made the structure of the marketing campaign something other destinations followed, including the state of Florida.

In 1994 following this campaign, the region’s share of the US market was an impressive 49%. When the campaign ended and momentum was lost, the market share fell steadily. Later on in 2002, another advertising campaign known as “Life Needs the Caribbean” was launched to market and promote the Caribbean’s brand as a single destination. Following this campaign, the region’s share of the US market rose from 40.6% to 43.7%.

Sadly, on August 13, 2016 the Caribbean lost one of its true champions. Michael Youngman assumed the position as Director of Marketing for the CTO in November 1991. In this role, he was responsible for all regional marketing activities worldwide for member states of the CTO. One of his most cherished achievements was the highly successful CTO/CHTA Regional Marketing Program of 1993 that resulted in a 10.4 percent increase in visitor arrivals to the Caribbean in 1993-1994. Youngman also wrote the original CTO Marketing Plan in 1991 which was used as a platform for CTO marketing worldwide. His expertise was used by the CTO to develop strategies for the first-ever government Tourism Summit meeting in Kingston, Jamaica in 1992 and again for the Tourism Summit held in The Bahamas in 2001. He introduced the first CTO website in 1995 and was involved as an author and editor in the creation of the CTO Tourism Executive Brief. He also received the CTO’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002, the same year as the launch of the Life Needs the Caribbean television campaign which he had helped to develop.

Michael was a friend and mentor. He loved our industry and the Caribbean. He was my predecessor in a previous job and so I had the benefit of standing on foundations which he built with passion, credibility and great competence. Michael was a champion.

We remember him with affection and great respect. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Arline, his family and all who loved him.

The Components of a Smart Tourist Destination: Practical examples for the Caribbean

smart destination pic 1

A new world is emerging. Worldwide destinations are becoming “smart”. In this new smart world everything is connected, enabling the physical, digital and social domains to unite creating a new hybrid ecosystem. In this new environment, individuals interact, play, communicate, collaborate and share information in new ways. Tourism businesses and destinations need new principles, policies, processes and objectives, sustainable world strategies, comprehensive planning, integrated models and globally effective solutions to adapt to this new world.

 Although some may think that the simple integration of technology within a tourism destination is sufficient to be classified as “smart”, that’s only the tip of the iceberg. As destination managers, we must acknowledge the multidimensional construct of smartness to create value for all and enhance competitiveness. Here’s how we can try to achieve this.


Innovation stimulates smartness and is essential for the competitiveness of destinations. One way to inspire innovation is through establishing a connection in multiple communities to develop a smart nation economy. According to Skift, one destination adopting this approach is Tahiti. Similar to the Caribbean, the Tahitian islands are small and closely geographically situated creating an opportunity to link various communities together to develop a smart nation.

Last year, the French Polynesia’s Ministry of Tourism introduced a new partnership with Tahiti Innovation Labs and Florida based Travel Startups Incubator to create a Tahiti Smart Tourism Initiative. The project goals included expanding free Wi-Fi access beyond resorts increasing visitor arrivals and by digitalizing the guest experience, and creating new opportunities for local job growth and economic development. The strategy relies heavily on creating a more dynamic multi-layered Internet pillar.

With the installation of fiber optic connectivity and telecommunication companies developing peer-to-peer “mesh” networks which don’t need cellular service, the usage of more apps is enabled and the quality and reach of service is also enhanced. The Caribbean can adopt this approach to develop a digital eco-system to attract consumers who depend on a fast and free Internet to navigate their travel journey and communicate with their social networks.

Moreover, imagine the capabilities of data obtained by new digital tools to better understand tourism traffic flows, service quality issues and emergencies. We can use innovative tools to collect, process and organize large amounts of data. This data can be accessible to creative communities and research institutions to foster further innovation to contribute to the success of smart tourist destinations.

Social Capital

Social capital consists of networks with shared interests, values and understandings that enable cooperation within or among groups. Strong social capital in geographical areas involves the presence of various networks between people, organizations and communities. Collaboration and cooperation between these networks support collective knowledge and competitiveness. Let’s look at Mexico for instance. According to Caribbean News Digital, during late last year, Cozumel was announced to become Mexico’s first “Smart Tourist Destination”. This case is a useful example of cooperation between two organizations. The project that was originally inspired from an initiative utilized by Spain’s Ministry of Tourism, was envisioned to provide the destination with a fresh makeover within the areas of accessibility, innovation, sustainability and technology. Spain and Mexico began working together by sharing each other’s strategies for tourism development; Mexico shared their “Pueblos Mágicos” (Magic Towns) initiative, and Spain shared with Mexico the “Smart Destination” project in which the main goal is to foster tourism development through technology and sustainability.

smart destination pic 2 mexico

With this project, the first orders of business were to enhance the communication infrastructure, develop a technological platform that can enable proper interaction between the three levels of government along with the tourism service providers, and therefore develop new innovative business and operation models.

Human Capital

Human capital is a necessary component of smart destinations. It embodies the knowledge, skills, competencies and attributes from individuals that enable the development of personal, social and economic well-being. According to Boes, Buhalis and Inversini, smart destinations include hubs where human capital is developed in a virtuous circle.

smart destination pic 3

These networks of connected people collaborate, cooperate, innovate and co-create to become smarter. Research also shows that areas with an educated workforce and a great number of entrepreneurs constantly driving innovation, result in a higher economic growth rate.

Utilizing this concept is the World Cities Network initiative. World Cities Network is an open and independent body developed to improve the resilience of cities. The organization facilitates the sharing of ideas between city leaders and professionals internationally across the real estate, technology, design, and urban infrastructure industries. World Cities Network attracts professionals who understand that by coming together and sharing experiences, more positive change can occur at a faster pace. They provide a learning network where ideas can be shared in a confidential and neutral environment. After launching in October 2012, World Class Network has obtained a high level of interest and attracted a range of leaders and experts from around the world.

There is an opportunity for a similar network to be created for the Caribbean that would attract knowledgeable people and individuals in different disciplines to share ideas to improve the intelligence of the destination.

Final thoughts

There is definitely potential to develop the Caribbean as a smart tourism region. However, to get there, there is some work to be done. As the focus of smart cities is on its residents, smart tourism destinations have to incorporate ways to improve the tourist experience, while simultaneously improving the quality of life for local residents. These two priorities need an inclusive ecosystem design, which can be accomplished by integrating all components of the smart tourist destination. Although this blog post mentioned only three components, there can be other areas worthy of exploring. What are your thoughts? Feel free to leave your comments below.

For more solutions to improve Caribbean tourism and enhance the competiveness and profitability of your business, don’t miss the CTO’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC). SOTIC is the annual gathering of tourism leaders from across the Caribbean and around the world to tackle issues affecting the travel and tourism industry. Come and add your voice to the debate and be apart of the regional solution: September 14-16, 2016, Hilton Barbados Resort, Barbados. For more information and to register, visit



“WOW” Your Visitors With Augmented Reality Experiences

augmented reality tourism

For most visitors, the destination experience starts long before the moment of touchdown. The sheer anticipation of the visit can be exciting. The reasons people choose a particular destination  continue to evolve and greater focus is being placed on experiential travel and search for authenticity. It is important that visitors get to experience the destination on their own terms.

There has been a lot of talk in the digital space recently after the launch of the Pokémon Go augmented reality mobile application game, which of course has reached the Caribbean. As this application brings many opportunities and challenges for tourist attractions, tourism leaders are starting to wonder, could augmented reality technology be a valuable asset to develop potential within the tourism industry?  This blog isn’t about Pokémon Go, but it is about using the technology that helped to create it.

Augmented reality (AR) is a fairly new technology. It enables the seamless overlay of digital graphics onto the real world to add more information and improve the perception of reality. The possibilities for the application of this software in tourism are endless. Let’s take a look at a few.

  1. An improved booking experienceplus twoSource:

After some years of development, AR has already started to revolutionize the publishing industry. There are many companies providing AR software experiences for their viewers such as  Aurasma, Layar , and  Augment to name a few. This new form of next-generation advertising could be applied to digital tourism catalogues, brochures, pamphlets, flyers and any other type of promotion materials.

Hotels, attractions,  and special events can come to life to offer an enhanced impression of what the customers are buying before they actually visit the destination. AR systems can convey a strong, persuasive power and create a lucrative opportunity to market services successfully —an approach which is still undeveloped in the tourism and hospitality industry.

A successful example was developed by Plus TwoAurasma, Grenada & British Airways. Instead of using a traditional print advertisement, an augmented reality video advert was utilized to convey the beauty of Grenada.

This advert made the page come to life on the screen of users by displaying a tide washing in over a beach and highlighting additional enticing footage of the island. The content included details on places to stay, mini guides to dining out, and things to do when visiting Grenada. During any point of the video, the user could tap on their screen to be taken to the British Airways landing page and book reduced flights to Grenada.

This was the first tourism campaign to utilize augmented reality in the UK. As a result, the promotion received huge media interest and the results exceeded the targets set by Grenada Tourism and British Airways. To read more about this campaign,  click here.

2. Enhanced visitor encounters with tourist attractions old and new barbados garrisonSource: Getty Images

Without a doubt, AR provides a new possibility of attracting visitors to a physical space, to encourage them to participate and truly experience a tourist attraction. The most apparent application is the reconstruction of ruins or historic and heritage sites.

Imagine being in Barbados and standing on the ruins of historic Bridgetown and its Garrison. Here you can admire the site’s  appeal as a whole as it would have looked centuries ago, or even witness a simulation of a classic representation on your mobile phone.  This synergy between past and present, virtual and real, is what best explains the difference between augmented reality and 3D technology.

 3. Better Navigation 

better navigationSource: Buhalis & Yovcheva

AR software can work as an ultimate tool to guide visitors through unfamiliar environments. Augmented displays have the capability to decrease the mental effort needed for both pedestrians and vehicle navigation. AR can display virtual paths and directional arrows to simplify both indoor and outdoor pedestrian and vehicle navigation.

One example of this is the smartphone application called “Nearest Tube” (displayed above) which shows the route to underground stations from the current location of the user in London. Imagine the opportunities here to display navigational points and landmarks in the Caribbean that tourists would like to visit but may have difficulty finding. This gives visitors a convenient and enjoyable way to navigate through a Caribbean destination, particularly in places where adequate signposting may be missing!

4. Improved Translation

better translation

Source: Quest Visual Inc.

Touring unfamiliar environments can also be difficult with misunderstood foreign language signs and instructions. In addition to interpreting street signs, AR systems can offer real-time instant translation of written text on restaurant menus, bus schedules and newspaper headlines from a foreign to the native language of the user. The smartphone application, “World Lens” (shown above) demonstrates this opportunity. World Lens overlays translated text over the original text in which the device is pointed to.

Bringing it all together

Although AR has been around for a few years, there is still a tremendous opportunity for it to be developed further in the Caribbean to enhance our visitors’ experiences. The above are just a few ways we can use AR to enhance the enjoyment of our destinations and improve the overall image of our industry .

What are some other ways you think AR could be utilized to propel the Caribbean tourism industry forward? Feel free to leave your comments below.

For  more solutions to improve Caribbean tourism and enhance the profitability of your business, don’t miss the CTO’s State of the Tourism Industry Conference (SOTIC). SOTIC is the annual gathering of tourism leaders from across the Caribbean and around the world to tackle issues affecting the travel and tourism industry. Come and add your voice to the debate and be apart of the regional solution: September 14-16, 2016, Hilton Barbados Resort, Barbados. For more information and to register, visit