The promotion and sale of a location as a tourist destination is known as destination marketing. This involves utilizing a variety of marketing techniques to highlight the unique characteristics and attractions of a destination, such as its cultural heritage, history, and natural beauty, with the aim of enticing visitors. To remain attractive to tourists, the tourism industry must continually invest in cutting-edge technologies, particularly those that are mobile-friendly. According to Fritz et.al., this poses a significant challenge for many destinations worldwide that lack sufficient funding opportunities. However, the advent of augmented reality has opened new possibilities for destinations to offer tourists a more immersive and captivating experience. By creating an AR app that superimposes virtual objects onto a visitor’s surroundings, a more engaging and immersive experience of the destination can be provided. A destination could create an AR scavenger hunt that encourages visitors to explore the destination and engage with its attractions. In the Belgian province of Namur, an augmented reality app played digital tour guide, with seven locations featuring commissioned artwork disrupting users’ viewfinder of the city. This type of campaign would provide visitors with a unique and memorable experience, while also promoting the destination’s unique features and attractions.
Utilizing augmented reality in destination marketing offers a significant advantage by presenting a location’s distinctive attributes in a more captivating way. According to Höllerer and Feiner, the user interface should not only detect the user’s location but also offer relevant background information on the surrounding area. This can include virtual tours of historical landmarks, cultural festivals, and natural wonders. By offering a more engaging experience, destinations can differentiate themselves from competitors and attract a larger number of tourists. For instance, the city of Vienna has a tourist guide application that uses navigation to direct users to specific locations while also providing location-based information on nearby places that can be selected at their discretion.
Hassan and Shabani, suggest that augmented reality can serve as a valuable tool for delivering up-to-date information to visitors about a destination. For instance, a visitor could scan a historical building using an AR app, and the app would supply them with details about the building’s past, the importance of the location, and the ability to re-live events that took place there. Such an approach would enrich the visitor’s experience, helping them better understand and appreciate the destination. Moreover, this technology can also promote sustainable tourism by informing visitors about environmentally friendly practices and local conservation initiatives.
AR technology has the potential to facilitate interactive marketing campaigns at the national level. For instance, Portal AR is an app that enables users to immerse themselves in Scotland. By leveraging AR technology, destination promotion could be enhanced by providing potential visitors with an engaging experience, allowing them to explore and interact with the destination before making a booking decision. Customized recommendations based on the user’s interests and preferences could also be offered through an AR app to further enhance their experience and explore the destination in a more immersive and interactive way.
The utilization of augmented reality in the destination marketing industry comes with its own set of challenges. The primary hurdle is the requirement for a reliable and widespread network infrastructure to support the technology, which is currently hindered by low consumer demand. Other constraints include the cost of the technology, bulky form factors, and restricted fields of view. Additionally, AR necessitates a significant amount of data to be transmitted in real time, and the infrastructure must be capable of supporting this data transmission. The cost of developing AR technology is yet another challenge. Developing high-quality AR apps and experiences can be expensive, and many destinations may not have the financial resources to invest in this technology.
Destinations can differentiate themselves from their competitors and attract more tourists by using AR technology. AR has the potential to revolutionize the way in which destinations market themselves, as it provides a unique and interactive experience for tourists. Substantial barriers still need to be overcome, however AR has proved itself and appears to have a bright, bright future in Destination Marketing.
 Fritz, F., Susperregui, A., & Linaza, M.T. (2005). Enhancing Cultural Tourism experiences with Augmented Reality Technologies. The Eurographics Association.
 Lauren Grace Morris, “For This Belgian Festival, Digital City Invasion Is All About Connecting Design’s Dots”, 03 DEC 2018. Accessed at https://www.frameweb.com/article/for-this-belgian-festival-digital-city-invasion-is-all-about-connecting-designs-dots
 Höllerer, T.H., & Feiner, S.K. (2004). Mobile augmented reality (Chap. 9). In H Karimi & A. Hammad (Eds.), Telegeoinformatics: Location-based computing and services. London: Taylor & Francis Books Ltd. (01/2004).
 Cheverst, K., Davies, N., Mitchell, K., and Blair, G. S. (2000). Developing a context-aware electronic tourist guide: Some issues and experiences. Proceedings of ACM CHI’ 00, Netherlands.
 A. Hassan and N. Shabani, “Usability analysis of augmented reality for tourism destination image promotion,” in The Routledge Handbook of Consumer Behaviour in Hospitality and Tourism, S. K.Dixit, Ed. Routledge, 2017
 Tseng-Lung Huang and Ben S.C. Liu, “Augmented Reality is Human-like: How the Humanizing Experience Inspires Destination Brand Love”, Technological Forecasting and Social Change Volume 170, September 2021, 120853
 Progressive Scotland, accessed at https://www.scotland.org/live-in-scotland/progressive-scotland
 Egger, R., Neuburger, L. (2022). Augmented, Virtual, and Mixed Reality in Tourism. In: Xiang, Z., Fuchs, M., Gretzel, U., Höpken, W. (eds) Handbook of e-Tourism. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-48652-5_19
 Nicole Garrison, “Why Haven’t AR and VR Changed Our Lives Yet? 5 Barriers to Adoption”, ARPost, November 17, 2019. Accessed at https://arpost.co/2019/11/27/ar-and-vr-changed-our-lives-5-barriers-adoption/