Virtual Tourism during the Pandemic. Comparative Study between Suceava and Maramureş Counties
The measures taken by the states of the world to limit the disease with the Sars Cov 2 virus imposed, in the first phase of the pandemic, numerous restrictions on mobility and physical distance, a situation that significantly changed the way tourism is carried out worldwide. In this context, some typologies of tourist activities were highlighted, which before the pandemic represented only a small segment of tourist flows and economic benefits. The natural areas with dispersed tourist objectives, with low population densities, the local villages, have entered the sphere of interest of some social categories of population that access the international tourism or the urban cultural areas. Virtual tourism has gained more and more ground, the circulation of tourist information in the online environment has intensified through photos showing the behavior of tourists in the circumstances of the pandemic.
The study aims to measure, through a comparative and diachronic analysis (before and during the pandemic), the perception and representation of tourism through geocoded photography and assess how the attractiveness of tourist resources in two geographical areas (Suceava County and Maramures County) has changed. Among the existing web photo distribution platforms, we analyzed the geocoded photos on the Picasaweb platform, this platform being in direct contact with the web service and Google street viewing services, popular in Romania. The research aims at analyzing the photographic appearances of the localities from the two counties, Suceava and Maramures in the period February - August 2020. Research methods used: analysis of tourist areas, statistical recording of tourist flows during the pandemic, comparison of the two regions with the intensity of tourist traffic reflected in the attached photos online, cartographic method by presenting tourist information on territorial options.
In conclusion, it is observed that the hostile period of the pandemic had a positive impact on the sustainability of tourism, especially of those territories that are of great interest and became overcrowded in the same period of previous years.
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