The travel industry is one of the most competitive industries out there. So, even more reason why those in the tourism industry need to incorporate innovative tourism. Here are some innovative ideas for tourism that can enhance visitor experiences and promote sustainable and unique travel.

Innovative tourism

Virtual Reality (VR) Experiences

Develop immersive virtual reality experiences that allow tourists to explore destinations and attractions from the comfort of their homes. This can include virtual tours, historical reenactments, or interactive educational experiences.

Here are some examples of tourism companies that use virtual reality:

Thomas Cook

The British travel company experimented with VR in select stores, allowing customers to experience virtual tours of holiday destinations before making a booking.

Marriott Hotels

Marriott was using VR to offer “VRoom Service” in some of its properties. Guests could request a VR headset to explore virtual travel experiences from their hotel room.

Destination British Columbia

The tourism board of British Columbia, Canada, launched a VR campaign to showcase the province’s natural beauty and outdoor activities, encouraging potential visitors to plan their trips.

Qantas Airways

The Australian airline offered passengers VR headsets during certain long-haul flights to provide in-flight entertainment and virtual tours of popular destinations.

South African Tourism

South Africa’s tourism board employed VR to provide immersive experiences of the country’s wildlife, safaris, and diverse landscapes to potential tourists.


The online travel agency experimented with virtual reality tours of hotels and vacation rentals, allowing customers to virtually explore accommodations before making reservations.

Tourism Australia

The country’s tourism board created 360-degree VR videos to showcase various Australian destinations, including iconic landmarks, beaches, and unique wildlife experiences.

Hilton Hotels & Resorts

Hilton used VR technology to offer virtual tours of their hotel properties, highlighting different room types and amenities to potential guests.

More examples of innovative tourism

Community-Based Tourism

Promote community-based tourism initiatives that involve local residents in sharing their culture, traditions, and daily life with tourists. This provides an authentic and immersive experience while supporting the local economy.

Here are some examples of community-based tourism:


Local families open up their homes to tourists, providing them with an authentic and immersive experience of living in the community. Tourists stay with the host family, eat local meals, and engage in daily activities, contributing directly to the family’s income.

Local Crafts and Artisan Tours

Communities showcase their traditional crafts, art, and artisanal products to tourists. Travelers can learn about the crafting process and purchase unique souvenirs, directly supporting local artists and preserving traditional craftsmanship.

Community-Guided Tours

Instead of conventional tour operators, community members serve as guides, leading tourists through their village or natural surroundings. These tours often include insights into local history, customs, and traditions.

Cultural Festivals and Events

Communities organize cultural festivals and events to attract tourists and showcase their customs, music, dance, and cuisine. These celebrations provide an opportunity for locals to share their heritage and generate income through ticket sales and souvenir purchases.

Ecotourism Initiatives

Communities promote sustainable tourism practices, emphasizing the conservation of their natural environment and biodiversity. Activities may include guided nature walks, wildlife spotting, or responsible fishing practices.


In rural areas, communities invite tourists to participate in farming activities, such as harvesting crops, tending to animals, or learning about organic farming practices. This helps visitors connect with nature and rural lifestyles. I spoke at the International Ag Tourism Conference and got to know many of these hard-working ag tourism people and their unique travel experiences.

Community-Based Conservation Projects

Communities may establish conservation projects that involve tourists in activities like tree planting, habitat restoration, or wildlife monitoring. The funds generated from these activities often contribute to the conservation efforts and the community’s well-being.

Cultural Exchanges and Workshops

Travelers can participate in workshops led by community members, where they learn traditional skills like cooking, weaving, or pottery. These exchanges promote cultural understanding and appreciation.

Sustainable Accommodations

Encourage the development of sustainable accommodations, such as eco-lodges, green hotels, or off-grid accommodations. These establishments minimize their environmental impact through renewable energy, water conservation, and responsible waste management.

Adventure Tourism

Offer adventure tourism activities that allow travelers to explore and experience nature while promoting conservation and responsible travel. This can include activities like hiking, kayaking, wildlife safaris, or cave exploration.

Cultural Exchange Programs

Facilitate cultural exchange programs that enable travelers to immerse themselves in local communities, learn about their traditions, and participate in daily activities. This promotes cross-cultural understanding and fosters meaningful connections.

Food and Culinary Tourism

Highlight local food and culinary traditions by organizing food tours, cooking classes, or farm-to-table experiences. This allows visitors to engage with local producers, taste authentic cuisine, and learn about traditional cooking methods.

Responsible Wildlife Tourism

Encourage responsible wildlife tourism practices by promoting ethical wildlife sanctuaries, responsible animal encounters, and educational programs that raise awareness about wildlife conservation.


Offer voluntourism opportunities that allow travelers to contribute to local community projects, conservation efforts, or social initiatives. This enables visitors to make a positive impact while experiencing the destination from a unique perspective.

An example of voluntourism is teaching English to children and adults in various countries where English language skills are in demand. Participants assist local teachers, run language workshops, or provide conversational practice

Wellness and Mindfulness Tourism

Develop wellness-focused tourism experiences that promote relaxation, rejuvenation, and mindfulness. This can include wellness retreats, yoga and meditation workshops, or spa and wellness centers.

My favorite vacations have been to places like Canyon Ranch in Tucson, AZ and Lennox, Massachusetts. These spa vacations are all about wellness and mindfulness.

Dark Tourism

Visiting places associated with tragedy, death, or historical significance, such as war memorials, former prisons, and disaster sites, to learn about the past and gain a deeper understanding of historical events.

Adventure Tourism

Catering to adrenaline junkies, adventure tourism includes activities like rock climbing, bungee jumping, white-water rafting, and other thrilling experiences in various natural settings. I had plenty of this when I went on vacation to New Zealand. Those were experiences that will last a lifetime. And the most fun vacation I’ve ever had.

Archaeological Tourism

Focused on historical exploration, archaeological tourism involves visiting ancient ruins, historical sites, and participating in archaeological digs.

Examples of famous archaeological tourism destinations include:

  • Egypt: With its iconic pyramids, temples, and ancient tombs in Luxor and Giza, Egypt attracts tourists interested in ancient Egyptian history and culture.
  • Greece: Greece is known for its ancient ruins, including the Acropolis in Athens, Delphi, and ancient theaters like Epidaurus.
  • Italy: Italy offers numerous archaeological sites such as the Colosseum and Roman Forum in Rome, Pompeii and Herculaneum near Naples, and the ruins of ancient cities like Paestum.
  • Peru: Machu Picchu, an ancient Incan citadel high in the Andes, is a major archaeological attraction in Peru.
  • Mexico: The Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, Palenque, and Tulum, as well as the Aztec ruins of Teotihuacan, are popular archaeological destinations in Mexico.

Nomadic Tourism

Embracing a nomadic lifestyle, travelers can experience living with nomadic communities, learning their traditions and sustainable ways of living.

Key characteristics of nomadic tourism include:

Constant Movement

Nomadic tourists are always on the move, frequently changing their location and exploring various destinations. They may use different modes of transportation, such as backpacking, hitchhiking, or using camper vans or motorhomes.

Minimalist Lifestyle

Nomadic tourists often adopt a minimalist approach to travel, carrying only essential belongings and prioritizing experiences over material possessions.

Cultural Immersion

Nomadic tourism encourages travelers to interact with local communities, learn about their traditions, and engage in cultural activities.

Remote and Off-the-Beaten-Path Locations

Nomadic tourists may seek out remote and less touristy destinations to escape crowded tourist areas and experience authentic and lesser-known places.

Digital Nomadism

In recent years, a subset of nomadic tourism known as digital nomadism has emerged, where individuals work remotely while traveling. They rely on technology and the internet to sustain their nomadic lifestyle while earning an income.

Sustainability and Responsible Travel

Many nomadic tourists are conscious of their impact on the environment and local communities. They may prioritize sustainable practices and seek ways to give back to the places they visit.

Freedom and Flexibility

The primary allure of nomadic tourism is the freedom and flexibility it offers. Travelers can change their plans spontaneously, follow their interests, and adjust their itineraries as they go.

Create your ultimate competitive advantage in tourism

In an extremely competitive industry such as tourism, you have to be more innovative to stay ahead of the curve.