Benefits of Virtual Travel & Tourism
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Travel and tourism are things that, up until recently, had to be experienced in person. But times are changing.
Virtual travel and tourism is a type of travel experience that takes place entirely in a virtual or digital environment, such as through online games, virtual reality simulations, or 360-degree videos. It allows people to explore and interact with virtual versions of real or imaginary places, including tourist attractions, natural wonders, and historic sites, without the need to physically travel to those locations. Virtual travel and tourism can be a cost-effective and accessible alternative to physical travel, as well as a way to preview destinations before deciding to visit them.
So what are the benefits of Virtual Travel and Tourism?
Virtual travel can provide several accessibility benefits, including:
Physical accessibility: Virtual travel allows people with mobility impairments or disabilities to visit destinations that may be difficult or impossible to access in person. Virtual travel also eliminates physical barriers such as stairs, narrow paths, and uneven surfaces, which can make physical travel challenging.
Financial accessibility: Virtual travel can be a more affordable alternative to physical travel, as it eliminates the need for expensive transportation, accommodation, and other travel-related expenses.
Time accessibility: Virtual travel can be accessed at any time, making it easier for people with busy schedules or limited vacation time to explore new destinations without the need for long trips.
Cultural accessibility: Virtual travel can provide opportunities for people to learn about and experience new cultures without the need to navigate cultural differences or language barriers, making it a more inclusive and welcoming experience for all.
Destinations and attractions need to distinguish themselves in today’s competitive travel and tourism marketplace. Take Visit Florida’s VR brand experience created by our award-winning Circus team. It features a series of customisable 180-degree videos, coupled with Dolby 5.1 audio, projected inside an immersive dome for VR group experiences.
Deployed in shopping malls across the UK, guests crowd around to transport themselves to their chosen Florida attraction – from the excitement of Daytona and Disney World, to serene aerial footage of kayaking in Martin County, to the sun-soaked beaches of the Emerald Coast. Followed up by an email marketing campaign to convert excitement to bookings, Visit Florida’s daily visitors soared to over 400 a day.
Likewise, the Science Museum and Covent Garden are some of London’s most popular and iconic locations. Sophisticated tech along with high quality, high-resolution 360 imagery cleverly brings them to life at the touch of a button. ‘Hero’ spaces are matched by VR technique: the Museum’s “Illuminate” level utilises a day-to-night toggle, beautifully illustrating the room at various times of the day.
If you’re new to virtual travel and tourism, take a look at these examples.
Museums: Many museums around the world have created VR experiences that allow visitors to explore exhibits and artifacts virtually, including the Louvre in Paris, the British Museum in London, and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.
Landmarks and Monuments: VR can also provide 360-degree views of famous landmarks and monuments, such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Taj Mahal in India, and the Great Wall of China.
National Parks and Natural Wonders: VR can provide immersive experiences of natural wonders, including the Grand Canyon, Yosemite National Park, and the Northern Lights.
Theme Parks and Attractions: Some theme parks and attractions have also developed VR experiences, such as Disney’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and Universal Studios’ The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
Cities and Destinations: Virtual reality can also provide tours of cities and destinations, such as a virtual walk through New York City or a tour of the pyramids in Egypt.
8 buildings to visit in VR
You could also look at visiting these 8 spectacular buildings. Take a look…
- Close your eyes and imagine the sound of castanets in the distance, as the sun beats down on your face. When you open your eyes, you are standing in front of Casa Battlo, Antonio Gaudi’s fantastical mansion. Locally this creation is known as ‘the house of bones’ due to its slim bone-like columns and the skull-like masks that hang over the balconies. This building boasts an undulating iridescent sealed roof, and a coral reef coloured facade. Inside, you can expect to be wowed by the stained glass, the curvaceous walls and blue tiles. One of the great thing about touring buildings virtually is that you can skip the climb up the spiral staircase, and with a simple click, transport yourself to the rooftop that provides you with panoramic views. This building is a delight for the senses!
- For a building of a completely different flavour, you can take a tour of architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s 242 hectare estate in Taliesin, Wisconsin. Not familiar with Frank Lloyd Wright? He’s the man who designed the Guggenheim Museum and Fallingwater amongst others. Of his estate, he wrote that “no other landscape cradles you as do these south-western Wisconsin hills”. This tour takes you through the loggia and living room, into the Hillside Assembly Hall. The Hall is built from local sandstone and oak timber, and the large windows showcase the glorious views.
- Next up, we’re feeling the heat in Australia! This building was designed in the 1980’s and was 10 years in the making. The Bubble House in Karalee was the brainchild of architect Graham Birchall, and just like the other houses on the list, it is unique. It’s made up of 11 domes, all of which are between 4-8 metres in size. Within these domes are 16 rooms including a fireplace, bathrooms with whirlpool baths, a bar and a cinema. Fun fact: Graham Birchall lived in this house for 30 years. When he decided to sell up, he had thousands of inquiries about the property. Having to self isolate might not be such a terrible thing within these walls!
- And now, for a total temperature change with the Dominion Tower in Moscow. Whilst bordering on the more modest end of the scale, this tower is pretty special. It opened in 2015, and has been built with a really playful style of geometry. On the virtual tour, you can delight in the cleverness of the tower’s staggered levels and monochrome, looping staircase. The architect who designed this, Zaha Hadid won the RIBA Royal Gold Medal in 2016, less than 2 months before she died. Her legacy is spread all over the world in the form of futuristic, curvaceous buildings including the London Aquatics Centre and the Guangzhou Opera House.
- For something, a little more romantic- or at least romantically named, why not take a tour of the Castle in Love with the Wind, in Ravadinovo, Bulgaria? This faux medieval palace by the seaside has a lot of character, although perhaps not in the way you would usually expect! The interior is pretty kitsch, with a sense of fun- take the faux baroque wine cellar that comes with fake cobwebs on the picture frames, which looks like a cross between a grotto and banquet hall. Outside in the garden, you can enjoy palm trees, plant covered towers, ponds and statues.
- Another great virtual reality tour to undertake is of Jaipur’s City Palace. The palace was built in the 1700’s by Jai Singh II, who built observatories in many Indian cities and founded modern Jaipur. This is another stunning building, showcasing the warm peach colour sandstone of Jaipur and the elegance of Mughal architecture. One of the tour highlights is the private audience hall, featuring marble floors, graceful arches and painted walls. You also get to check out one of the world’s largest silver pots! This was commissioned by a maharaja in order to transport 8,000 litres of holy water from the Ganges to Britain. And who knows, you may even get the chance to stay here in real life one day. Padmanabh Singh (polo player and maharaja of Jaipur) has listed a suite in the palace on Airbnb before, for a whopping £6k a night which was donated to charity.
- A slightly more modest offering now, but jam packed with history – Anne of Cleves House, in Lewes, Sussex. As you might expect from an English building of the period, it’s timber framed with beautiful exposed beams throughout. This mansion was given to Anne of Cleves by Henry VIII after their marriage was annulled, along with Hever Castle, Richmond Palace and other properties. Given Henry VIII’s track record with his Queens, it’s safe to say Anne of Cleves did pretty well! The tour begins in the grounds of the mansion, so the viewer can appreciate the garden full of foxgloves and spreading trees, before heading into a show us round a Tudor kitchen. The stairs in this property are steep, so it’s just as well you don’t need to climb them in order to see the high beamed bedroom with a beautifully carved four poster bed.
- We’re finishing on a big one… how about a virtual tour of the Palace of Versailles? If you want a tour that’s going to keep you occupied for a while, this might be the tour for you! The corridors are lined with artworks that you can zoom in on. And not any old art, but artworks by the likes of Veronase and Jacques Louis David, mind you. And let’s not forget the statues and the trompe-l’oeil murals. On this tour, you can transport yourself into the mesmerising Hall of Mirrors, where 357 mirrors reflect 73 metres of crystal and gilded bronze. The baroque (and you can be sure it’s all real here) ceiling celebrates Louis XIV and is a treat for the eyes. If you need to get out and about for some reinvigorating fresh air, you can use google maps to explore the maze-like groves and the lakeside. The gardens are full of fountains and statues and you can definitely lose yourself here for a while.
In conclusion, it’s clear that virtual reality technology has enhanced and continues to transform the tourism industry by providing new and innovative ways for people to experience and enjoy the world’s many attractions and destinations. What did you think?
We believe the possibilities are endless and we’re excited to see where this leads next.