Amazon Explore launched recently, tries to capture consumer demand for experiencing virtual tours and activities in destinations, such as how to cook a dish, personalized guided tours of cities and attractions.

Some local experiences executives believe that this is Amazon's initial step toward entering in full force the highly lucrative and digitally-underserved "Tours & Activities/ Local Experiences" travel sector and that it would be an "easy implementation" for Amazon to become an online retailer/online travel agency in the local experiences sector and can do this "just by opening a category" on their site.

Other industry experts believe that these virtual tours are more like curated reality cooking and travel shows, more like Amazon Prime TV series, and not yet another attempt by Amazon to enter the travel business as an OTA and that the online retail giant does not have the expertise and technology to enter the travel space as a major player.

The question is, is Amazon Explore yet another attempt by Amazon to enter the travel space as a major player and online travel agency/retailer?

Simone Puorto
Simone Puorto
Founder | CEO | Futurist

Amazon has been testing, under the radar, with several travel-related services for a while now, mainly in India. Just last week, for example, it partnered with the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation to sell train tickets. We all know that. But I honestly doubt Explore is another attempt to enter the travel space, rather another step in retail domination. Amazon Explore, in fact, lets users "shop local on the other side of the world," and I would not be surprised if this feature will be used more by personal shoppers than travel guides. 

George Roukas
George Roukas
Partner at Hudson Crossing
Pete Syme
Pete Syme
Digital Leader Seeking Disruptive Challenges In Rebuilding Travel And Tourism
Larry Mogelonsky
Larry Mogelonsky
Managing Director Hotel Mogel Consulting Limited

Amazon is the world's #1 retailer. Period. There is no #2, with Walmart a distant #3 (perhaps). Walmart is expanding as fast as they can into the online space. Amazon needs to build revenue. They already sell pretty much every product on earth, so logically, the next frontier is services. Travel makes sense. It has a high margin and has an opportunity for up-sell. My hunch: Amazon buys Expedia...why not!

Peter O’Connor
Peter O’Connor
Professor of Strategy at University of South Australia Business School
Chad Hallert
Chad Hallert
Chief Digital Officer at Foundry | Marketing Instructor at the University of Nevada
Loren Gray
Loren Gray
Founder of Hospitality Digital Marketing
Linchi Kwok
Linchi Kwok
Associate Professor at The Collins College of Hospitality Management
Tim Peter
Tim Peter
Founder & President, Tim Peter & Associates
Erik Muñoz
Erik Muñoz
Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) at Lybra.tech
Max Starkov
Max Starkov
Adjunct Professor NYU Tisch Center for Hospitality and Hospitality & Online Travel Tech Consultant
Mark Fancourt
Mark Fancourt
Co-Founder at TRAVHOTECH