Generative AI: The Hype is Underestimated

Planning a trip to Panama with ChatGPT scratches the surface of what the latest developments with generative AI can mean for experience operators

Reading Time: 5 minutes 40 seconds

The future is here, in the form of generative AI (artificial intelligence that can generate written and visual content, software coding and much, much more), and it’s already helping travelers plan trips.

It took ChatGPT — a type of generative AI specifically optimized for chat — five days to cross the one million user threshold, after OpenAI launched it to the public on November 30, 2022. To cross the same threshold took Netflix 41 months, Facebook 10 months and Instagram two and a half months.

There are so many potential applications for the experiences industry, as discussed in Christian Watt’s amazing 38 minute audio conversation with ChatGPT (he called her Amy), and in the Generative AI section of the recently released Arival Guide: The Power of Chat from providing human-like responses to customer queries to enabling real-time translation services to generating website content. For example, ChatGPT could substantially reduce the time you spend writing tour descriptions, marketing copy and even general company documentation.

Besides the potential applications for experience operators themselves, ChatGPT also has the potential to transform the discovery and booking journey for travelers. Here’s a quick example of a potential B2C (business-to-consumer) use of ChatGPT today.

Planning a Trip to Panama with ChatGPT

When you read this article, I will be on my first family vacation since March 2020. Below is a snippet from a conversation that took less than five minutes via the simple ChatGPT interface.


Help me plan a trip to Panama City and the country of Panama. I am traveling with my wife, my son (21 years old) and his girlfriend (18 years old). We are staying in an Airbnb in Casco Viejo and looking forward to enjoying the old city. We want to take a tour in the Panama Canal one day, the smaller the group the better. We want to explore the country and have authentic experiences where we meet the local people. My son wants to scuba dive. We want to get to one or more of the islands that aren’t too far from Casco Viejo. We plan to rent a car.


Panama City and the surrounding area offer a wide range of activities and attractions for travelers of all ages. Here are a few ideas for your trip:

Visit the Panama Canal: One of the most popular tourist attractions in Panama, the Panama Canal is a must-see for any visitor to the country. There are several tour options available, including boat tours that take you through the locks, and guided tours of the Visitor Center. If you’re interested in a more intimate tour experience, you may want to consider booking a private tour with a smaller group.

Explore the old city of Casco Viejo: As you’ll be staying in an Airbnb in the old city, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to explore the charming streets and neighborhoods of Casco Viejo. Take a stroll through the historic district, visit the Mercado de Mariscos (seafood market), and check out the many galleries and artisanal shops.

Go scuba diving: Panama is home to some of the best scuba diving in the world, with a variety of dive sites to choose from. If Jaden is interested in scuba diving, there are several dive operators in the area that offer guided diving trips and PADI certification courses.

Visit one of the islands: Panama has a number of beautiful islands in its archipelago, many of which are within easy reach of Panama City. Some options to consider include Isla Taboga, Isla Contadora, and Isla San Jose. These islands offer a chance to relax on the beach, go snorkeling, or explore the local culture.

Rent a car and explore the countryside: Renting a car is a convenient way to explore the country, and there are many beautiful areas to discover outside of Panama City. Some options to consider include visiting the cloud forests of the Chiriqui province, the sandy beaches of Bocas del Toro, or the indigenous villages of the Darien region.

I hope these suggestions help you plan your trip to Panama. Have a great time!


What are some of the best restaurants in Casco Viejo. And also, we need a few great restaurants that offer vegan food.


There are many excellent restaurants in Casco Viejo, offering a wide range of cuisines and dining experiences. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Donde Jose: This popular restaurant is known for its delicious seafood and traditional Panamanian dishes. Located in a charming colonial-style building, it’s a great place to enjoy a casual meal.
  • Salsipuedes: This trendy restaurant serves a mix of international and Panamanian cuisine, with a focus on locally-sourced ingredients. The menu changes regularly, so you can try something new each time you visit.
  • Casa Bruja Brewery: Located in a historic building in Casco Viejo, this brewery serves a variety of craft beers as well as a selection of international and Panamanian dishes.
  • La Chala: This charming restaurant serves a mix of traditional and modern Panamanian cuisine, with an emphasis on locally-sourced ingredients. The menu includes a variety of vegetarian and vegan options.
  • Tántalo Kitchen: This trendy restaurant serves a mix of international and Panamanian dishes, with a focus on locally-sourced ingredients. The menu includes a variety of vegetarian and vegan options.

I hope these suggestions help you find some great restaurants to try during your stay in Casco Viejo. Bon appétit!

This short conversation provided a great, general background to help us delve into more details of our trip planning. Our conversation went on for a while as I pressed ChatGPT for location-specific recommendations and more. Try it for yourself!


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Paying Attention to Generative AI and ChatGPT Developments in the Experiences Industry

Whenever disruption comes around, there are some ways that leaders and innovators respond, and I encourage all of us in the in-destination experiences industry to look at their business, find someone to evaluate how we can benefit using ChatGPT, and keep learning! Here are some great tips from Hederik Laloo:

  • Accept being disrupted
  • Be willing to change
  • Create a vision
  • Know your customers
  • Know your competitors
  • Support and enable your people
  • Take leaps of faith

For Arival’s part, we will be tracking these developments closely in order to keep the Arival community informed. Join us at Arival 360 | Berlin 2023 for theater and breakout sessions focusing on generative AI’s impacts on the in-destination industry, and subscribe to our newsletter to get the latest updates in your inbox (sign-up link below).

I hope you’re paying attention. This IS the Next Big Thing.

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