Virtual Reality Technology in Tourism Destination Marketing

Document Type : Research Paper


1 MSc., Department of Marketing Management, Faculty of Economic & Social Sciences, Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, Ahavz, Iran.

2 Assistant Prof., Department of Management, Faculty of Economic & Social Sciences, Shahid Chamran University of Ahvaz, Ahvaz, Iran.


Given the recession and crises such as the Covid-19 Pandemic, tourism destinations and related businesses are attempting to continue to expose their tourism destinations and capacities to potential tourists. They also aim to encourage them by providing extra facilities to visit these tourism destinations once the crisis is over. Virtual reality technology seems to be an effective instrument for this purpose, which highlights the significance of using this technology in the present situation. Virtual reality is regarded as an ICT-enabled technology with the potential to provide a highly interactive experience for potential tourists and inspire them to visit these destinations in the future. This study aims to investigate the impacts of virtual reality technology on tourists’ behavioral intentions and the image of the tourism destination.
The present study is descriptive-applied in nature. The required data will be collected using online questionnaire and available sampling method. The statistical population of the study includes all the tourists who usually use various mobile applications for their travels. For this purpose, a 360-degree virtual video from three popular tourism destinations in Khuzestan province were selected. The sample of this research includes 267 visitors. The reliability and validity of the research constructs were confirmed using Cronbach's alpha coefficient and mean extraction variance. Besides, research hypotheses were also tested using Smart-PLS3 software.
The results illustrate that “sense of presence” and “aesthetic experience” are the two the variables with a significantly positive impact on satisfaction with virtual reality. Moreover, satisfaction with virtual reality has a positive and significant effect on behavioral conflict and behavioral conflict has a significantly positive effect on the intention to visit the destination, verbal recommendation, and the destination image.
Based on the results of this study, virtual reality technology has a positive effect on tourist behavior and destination image. Accordingly, if virtual reality applications and programs can provide their users with a sense of presence in the scene, a more realistic experience, a more unique instances of aesthetic effects and principles, these users will experience greater satisfaction with the virtual travel experience. While attracting and motivating the users, this can lead to more engagement and interaction with the tourism experience. In addition, the higher the users are engaged with the experience and the more time and energy they spend interacting and participating in the virtual experience, the greater the likelihood of observing behavioral reactions. Therefore, higher engagement with the experience of visiting a destination virtually can help increase their intention to actually visit that destination in the future. Moreover, users who have had a more rewarding experience based on their engagement with the destination, will be more likely to share their experiences with others and recommend them. In addition, such a unique experience of interaction and engagement with the tourism destination and its attractions can creates a more desirable feeling toward the destination and increase the credibility and desirability of the destination. Eventually, it can also help improve the brand image of that tourism destination.


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