Emirates holidays partners with the university of surrey on groundbreaking paper project set to revolutionise travel industry

‘Next generation paper’ aims to create a new form of interactive paper with hyperlinks to the web


Emirates Holidays has announced they will be partnering with the University of Surrey on Next generation paper which launches today; an exciting new academic research project which aims to revolutionise paper to become an interactive interface that connects to the internet.


The research offers huge potential to the travel industry, as brands will be able to create disposable interactive print magazines with incredible multi-sensory functionality that will truly ‘bring to life’ holiday experiences by playing local sounds and generating scents, with 360° images that can be navigated through. The paper could also trigger a breakthrough in ROI measurement of traditional offline marketing, offering the ability to track customer responses via buttons that click-through to brand pages which would enable brands to track offline marketing in a similar way to digital marketing. The paper could even have the capability to automatically dial a phone number or trigger an online search on the potential customer’s behalf. 


For holidaymakers, the new technology will enable them to simultaneously explore a combination of printed and digital materials when planning and enjoying their holiday – from browsing travel brochures, booking their trip, reading guide books, posting reviews and sharing their experiences on social media.


Starting today, the project will begin with the production of a series of interactive travel guidebooks which tourists will be invited to test out alongside creating photobooks of their own travel experiences. 


As the leading travel partner, Emirates Holidays had a crucial role in the successful bid for project funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) by contributing industry-insight which shaped the proposal. As the project progresses, Emirates Holidays will be working alongside travel guidebook partner Bradt Travel Guides to support the creation of the prototype technology, and will potentially be the first to trial the new paper within the travel industry.


Niel Alobaidi, Managing Director, Emirates Holidays UK commented: “We’re extremely excited to be involved in the development of this pioneering technology which we know has the potential to revolutionise the travel industry. Emirates Holidays is fortunate to have had a long-standing relationship with the University of Surrey and we are delighted to be strengthening our ties with the university on such an industry-first project.

next generation paper

We know the university offers students a world-class introduction to tourism management which is why we employ several students on a one year graduate placement scheme and are also working with final year students on a digital marketing module. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the future holds for the Next Generation Paper Technology, as well as our ongoing partnership with the university.”


Professor Caroline Scarles, Head of School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, University of Surrey, said: “The project brings the opportunity for industry and academia to work closely and think creatively about how we bridge the gap between digital platforms and the hard copy publications such as guidebooks or brochures that continue to hold a firm place in travel decision making. 


Key players from travel professionals like our trusted partner Emirates Holidays, to tourists, technology experts and academics will come together to rethink how to integrate technology into these core travel behaviours as tourists make decisions about where they travel to, how they move around within destinations and how they share their experiences.


By developing prototypes that draw upon a range of visual and audio content activated through the paper itself to enrich the detail on the printed page, the collaboration will challenge both the industry partners and the academics involved to bring the real potential of next generation paper to life.”


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