Our Founder – Joe King
A Native New Yorker established Tours.com and Sightseeing.com in 1995. Joe developed King International, a tourism development consulting firm. King International has a distinguished client list seeking guidance in the intricate area of international tour packaging & marketing. They include the cities of Chicago, New York, San Francisco & Washington, D.C., the states of Virginia, and Maryland, & organizations such as American Sightseeing International, Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall & Tavern on the Green. A member of various travel organizations.
In memory of our beloved founder, Joe King January 27, 1941- February 13, 2009
How it Began
We gave our first Internet Conference in London, England – November 1994 and purchased the URL, tours.com & sightseeing.com, in March 1994. We have over 3 decades of tour and travel industry experience.
We had many ideas of how best to use this URL. We were very enthusiastic about the Internet and resolved to learn all about it. It seemed so logical and we found all the support and expertise that we would need right next door at Silicon Valley. We found that the tour and travel industry, however, did not embrace this new technology and in fact was hostile, perceiving it as a threat. The vast majority of tour operators and wholesalers around the globe were not on line and in fact only started putting their information on line in 2000 and 2001
In 1995 two themes dominated our thinking: The first was that the worldwide web is a great information tool, which is what Tim Berners-Lee had in mind when he invented it. And the second, access to vacation information was extremely limited. Only those companies that advertised, mailed brochures and captured the public or retail agents attention got the business. That’s when the Worldwide Directory of Tours & Vacations was born. The print medium is inadequate to do the job. Only the new electronic medium is capable. Now, tours.com provides a single digital source for information on vacations of any kind, to almost anywhere. Timely, in-depth, instantly available worldwide 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Founded in 1995 – Our mission continues to stay on course, that is, to promote tourism products and services to the travel professionals and traveling public. Through our newsletters, Travel-Intel and VR Tourism News, reaching over 140,000 travel professionals worldwide.
Since tourism is the primary income source for most countries worldwide, our vision is to expand the awareness of travel products and services utilizing existing and new technology for all countries globally. (Excluding, Syria and North Korea due to US Government Regulations – OFAC)
VR Travel, Since 2016, has been available as a free resource for the travel agents and travel community to post their VR, AR, and 360 videos. A source for technology and virtual tours of destinations, attractions, museums, hotels, and travel-related products.
In the travel industry, virtual reality is used to capture tourism destinations in a unique and immersive way and is employed in the tourism industry as a beneficial marketing tool. Being able to capture tourism destinations in such a memorable and immersive way is effective and powerful allowing the user to experience the feeling of “being there.” Regular brochures, images, and videos work well for showing what a hotel, attraction, or destination has to offer, but they do not provoke an emotional response.
VR in tourism can place the user at the heart of the scene and makes it easier for them to imagine themselves at the location.
Applications of VR in tourism include: Virtual reality travel experiences, VR tourism content for social media/websites, Virtual hotel, cruises, attraction, destinations & tours.
Travel Agents can offer prospective clients in-store virtual travel experiences that completely transform what it means to visit a travel agency. Instead of showing brochures and computer screens, travel agents can provide their clients with a virtual experience. This approach can also be used to significant effect at trade shows and events, quickly gaining interest from the public. Utilizing VR allows travel brands to stand out from the crowd and provide the user with an experience they will not forget. Tourism companies have embraced VR technology and have used it to improve sales and increase brand exposure.
VR is great for creating moments of immersion, but it cannot yet replace the complete immersion of being in a real space 24/7. Whilst VR technology is progressing at a fast rate, it’s pretty safe to say that virtual reality won’t be replacing travel anytime soon.
Timeline 1994 - 2021
1994 to The Bubble – I’m too old – “The Internet is for the Young”
I’m too slow – I couldn’t raise 35 million or and go thru it in 2 years.
After the Bubble Burst.
I’m a dot com – No-one will invest in me.
You can’t say you’re a dot.com you must have a “traditional brick and mortar company
You CAN say you’re a dot com – because you’re a dot com in travel. Travel is Hot!
Y2K scare – New year 2000 – Fear of a Worldwide Computer breakdown
911 & Terrorism
After 9/11 (September 11, 2001
Don’t say you’re a dot com in travel
- SARS (Asian, especially …Japanese travel non existent).
2002 Social networking hit really its stride with the launch of Friendster.
2003 LinkedIn & MySpace launched
2004 FaceBook launched to the General Public
Banks & Financial Institutions Raping and Pillaging (small businesses can only get small business loans via company credit cards with interest rates at 30% same time personal credit card rates at same high rates 28.99% – 30%
2007 The mortgage melt down has developed into the worst housing crisis since the Great Depression, according to the latest report from Housing Predictor. Hundreds of thousands of conventional mortgage borrowers are being foreclosed.
2008 Economic Collapse- electronic run on the banks-Global financial Crisis – Bank failure –
Wall Street financial crisis & investment banking mistrust – Poster Child – Bernie Madoff’s $65 Billion Ponzi scheme and the uncovering of similar investment notables.
SWINE Flue – Travel to Mexico non existent (Global pandemic announced – fear of travel)
2007 to 2009 Stock Market Downturn – Afraid of another Great Recession
Mar 13, 2008 AOL has acquired social networking site Bebo for $845 million in cash.
Jul 2, 2013 – The internet entrepreneur who founded Bebo paid $1m (£660,000) to buy back the social networking site five years after selling it to AOL
Social Medial is all the craze but no one can figure out how to make money from it.
2009 – US financial debt – at an unimaginable scary high
Credit Card rates at a high of 29% while Savings and CD rates are below 1%
2010 – Fear that the Banks and Wall Street are operating as “usual”
April 15, 2010 All flights in and out of the UK and several other European countries have been suspended due to ash from volcanic eruption in Iceland.
March 11, 2011 Japan – Earthquake – tsunami- nuclear plants meltdown
April, 2011 – Middle East Uprising – Syria, Libya, Egypt, Yemen, Iran – political coupe
SEO – SEO frenzy now reaches am all time high http://www.thehistoryofseo.com/
Information overload is at a maximum. Keeping up with the alphabet soup of Internet services, products and companies that claim to be experts in providing those detracts from business goal of actually making money.
2011 – Google decided to launch their own social network: Google+. Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/features/the-history-of-social-networking/#ixzz32n1d9nXW
2013 Frommer’s Travel Guides Google will pay about $23 million for the brand, according to a person close to the deal who was not authorized to speak publicly about the terms.
2013 Google changed algorithms again, Hummingbird & Penguin causing problems with t.c. Google Ranking and our potential advertising revenue (the first time the Google made major algorithm changes caused us to do a complete re-design of tours.com. many then small internet entities did not survive the changes needed to be made)
2014 – Global economy as well as US economy still troublesome however people have adjusted to downsizing. Downsizing – the new buzz word for the past few years and new words like not leaving a carbon footprint.
2014 – March – Ebola outbreak in West Africa was first reported. Up to 4 November, 4,960 people had been reported as having died from the disease in five countries; Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Nigeria and the United States. A further death has been reported in Mali. The total number of reported cases is in excess of 13,000. Travel Safaris to Africa is at a stand-still
2014 – June – The Isis Terror group halts travel to the Middle East
2014 – November 10th – Breathe Luxury holds Domain Name Auction during WTM World Travel Mart in London m- first of its kind. Holiday.com sold for $4.7 MILLION
Mobile technology is hot, computers not – TV is becoming computers, computers are trying to become TV – mobile is trying to become everything
2015 – Sept Bitcoin – Blockchain http://www.coindesk.com/verizon-ventures-blockchain-future/
The blockchain is seen as the main technological innovation of Bitcoin, since it stands as proof of all the transactions on the network. A block is the ‘current’ part of a blockchain which records some or all of the recent transactions, and once completed goes into the blockchain as permanent database. The most widely known application of a block chain is the public ledger of transactions for cryptocurrencies used in bitcoin. This record is enforced cryptographically and hosted on machines running the software. The technology forms the basis of some cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, Ethereum and Dogecoin.
Disruptors – New buzz – www.forbes.com/special-report/2013/disruptors/
In the eyes of a disruptor, no one company is so essential that it can’t be replaced and no … How Upstarts are Disrupting Industries — Just Like Their Archetypes
2016 May– VRTourismNews.com & VRTavel was launched – The 1st VR Exclusively to the Travel Industry
2017 – Trump new US President – “the world did not end” economy seems to like him.
2017 April – Tours.com begins redesign of new website
2019 – Over tourism – the new buzzword
2020 – Global Pandemic, March 2020 Covid19 Travel and Tourism and life as we knew it has come to an end.
2022 – Mask Optional, April – masks are now becoming optional, travel is “slowly” and I mean slowly getting going. Destinations are lifting their travel restrictions.
We are staying on course, strengthening our brands. Launched VR Travel and VR Tourism News – continue to make changes to stay current and always increasing our database now in VR, AR and 360.