• Ira Lisa Kristina Leino
  • Erica Buzzi
4. term, Tourism, Master (Master Programme)
At the time when new technology is emerging and COVID-19 is restricting in-person meetings, the traditional definition of presence is challenged. This research is set to investigate in-depth how virtual reality is examined within the field of business tourism with a focus on its sustainable factors. The research paper has been conducted through different stages, starting with the identification of a main research question, which implies the understanding of the use of virtual reality by distinct stakeholders all within the context of business tourism. This main question has then been divided in two distinct sub-questions, taking into account, firstly, the perceptions of both the business professionals and providers within the industry in regards to the use of virtual reality in meetings or conventions and secondly, the impact of COVID-19 towards the hospitality and events sector and what are the consequences that should be expected in the next future. In order to better analyse these inquiries, the thesis has been divided into different chapters starting with the literature review. This chapter covers all the necessary themes from the initial concept of business tourism to the connection with, respectively, the new technology and sustainability. Furthermore, an extensive overview of both the COVID-19 impact and the virtual reality, was able to provide other elements towards a fully understanding of the VR and its connection with the theme of sustainability. For the methodology section, fundamental was the identification of the qualitative model that together with the use of the semi-structured interviews, allows us to gather specific data in regards to the opinions and overview of both the business professionals (n=16) and people working in the VR field (n=4), gaining an understanding of their general knowledge of virtual meetings, as well as their insight towards the tourism industry, the data privacy, sustainability and the connection of the virtual reality with the current pandemic. Through these responses, it was possible to understand how the necessity of remote collaboration has been influencing the choice to move to online and virtual tools instead of going back to traditional in-person meetings. Nonetheless, while some respondents were intrigued in the possibility of fully integrating remote meetings into their current routine as a permanent solution, other respondents were rather favourable to returning to the traditional meetings in order to achieve presence. According to our findings, it can be concluded firstly that the use of VR is more appropriate when a trustful business relationship has been formed prior to the meeting. Secondly, it is not necessary to choose between the existing solutions to go all-embracing, but rather find a golden mean between remote collaboration and in-person meetings. If VR achieved a greater role in substituting in-person meetings, it would contribute to social, economic and environmental sustainability in business tourism.
Publication date2 Oct 2020
External collaboratorMeetinVR
Francois Schumer francois@meetinvr
ID: 378383017