As tourist destinations look to re-open after the international lockdown, experts predict the increased use of so-called “smart” technologies, allowing attractions to effectively implement the safety measures required.
The main problem that destinations face is in enforcing social distancing. Solutions to this lie in controlling entry – often with online pre-booking required; reducing capacity; spacing out queues to allow two metres between visitors; and using PPE, masks and screens for staff and clients.
The need for such control over visitor numbers may lead to more attractions turning to smart technology in the form of smartphone apps. If visitors are encouraged or required to download these, it becomes possible for the destination to monitor the number of people in a defined area. This type of surveillance technology also eliminates the need to count people as they leave.
The app would have other uses, as well. It could offer self-guided tours in a choice of languages, as well as other entertaining additional information. And staff members could answer queries live from a distance. And if you’ve forgotten to book your picnic spot or afternoon tea before arrival, you could get yourself into the digital queue.
It seems likely that the pandemic has ushered in an age of increased electronic surveillance and inter-connectivity in even the most peaceful outdoor attractions – however we might feel about it.