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How virtual reality is being implemented in the travel industry

One of the most crucial sectors to have adopted VR was the tourism industry, which has only begun using the full potential of this technology. 

In recent years, virtual reality (VR) applications have created profound changes in all sorts of sectors. In the health industry, technology has made invasive surgeries safer. In the automotive industry, it has helped design engines and the interior of cars. It was also thanks to virtual reality that video games became more interactive, which in turn has attracted new players and expanded manufacturers’ sources of revenue. But one of the most crucial sectors to have adopted VR was the tourism industry, which has only begun using the full potential of this technology. 

Virtual reality experiences
In recent years, companies working in the tourism sector and software developers have discovered the endless possibilities that virtual reality can pose for users who want to remotely visit some of the most extraordinary places in the world. Using inexpensive gadgets, it is now possible to sail around the Bahamas, take a tour on archaeological sites in Egypt or even climb Mount Everest – all without ever setting a foot out of the house.

The recent wave of virtual reality in tourism was made possible due to the increasing investment in these types of technologies, but also because of the new age of digital entertainment. Nowadays, users are increasingly interested in experiencing digital forms of in-person activities, which can include virtual tours, streaming, digital concerts, and even online gambling. For instance, users can now access online casinos where they can play live blackjack, which has been developed to be as immersive as possible. Virtual reality provides the opportunity of offering a more sensory experience that can come close to physically going to a casino.

Virtual tourism
Among the most popular experiences is National Geographic Explore VR, which takes users to distant destinations, using Oculus Quest 2, developed by Meta (formerly known as Facebook), one of the most advanced all-in-one VR systems in the market. Using this gear, it is possible to explore Machu Picchu, take a journey to the deep sea, go walking with an elephant herd and experience Antarctica’s wildlife. This comes after Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, purchased Oculus for $2 billion and heavily invested in high-quality sound and imagery to make this technology more user-friendly and make it a day-to-day gadget.

When it comes to more conventional tourism, several platforms offer VR experiences that can take you around the globe and inside some of the most famous landmarks. One of these platforms is Superworld, which mixes the tourism and real estate sector, and lets users not only virtually visit landmarks across the world, but also purchase and sell historical monuments and iconic structures inside the metaverse. 

Photo by Keeyahtay Lewis on Unsplash

Additionally, some cultural institutions, such as museums, feature exclusive online collections and VR tours inside their galleries. One of the best examples is Louvre’s virtual tours which feature immersive and user-friendly digital cultural experiences. It is also possible to use Google Earth VR to access more than 18,000 artworks for free.

Although the use of virtual reality has emerged as an alternative to tourism, it does not aim to compete with conventional traveling. Instead, large hotel chains, cruise ship lines brands, and tourist destinations have been investing in this type of technology as a way to complement physical visits.

Overall, we can say that virtual tourism is expected to continue to grow and be adopted by other industries but ultimately it doesn’t seek to replace any physical experience, but rather create a new type of experience.

Main photo by Bradley Hook from Pexels

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