Experts believe that tourism development is impossible without the creation and implementation of innovation. One of such novelties is virtual reality and 3D graphics technology. This type of technological advancement allows organizations to create digital libraries, museum exhibits, and other interactive cultural experiences for users. The VR industry has also begun to integrate with existing technology to create an even newer concept — virtual tourism.

Virtual Tourism

The internet and virtual reality are now providing people with the opportunity to travel without leaving their homes. Virtual tours can be taken of ancient palaces, magnificent temples, and historic landmarks. Such tours offer panoramic views of cities with a thousand-year history and 360° views of stunning sunsets that immerse the viewer into the full experience of being in a faraway country.

Whereas tourism websites in the past have only been able to display photos and videos of a destination, they now can offer an immersive experience with 360° tours and 3D models to bring to life a location and offer the most comprehensive information to its users.

A visit to such websites allows the user to enjoy not only natural landscapes and historic architecture, but also the ability to visit current museum exhibitions. VR offers 3D models with photorealistic images that are accessible by web browsers as well as mobile phones and tablets. The user can rotate items in all planes and even scale them for closer viewing, simulating a real-life experience of studying objects from ancient gold jewelry to large architectural marvels.

Another advantage of this technology is its accessibility. Many people aren’t able to travel due to age, financial, or physical limitations. If the 2D experience of photos and videos couldn’t give a complete experience of a destination before, 360° views now offer anyone the authentic experience of seeing the world from the comfort of their home.

VR technology also preserves history in that it enables the digitization of material objects in their original condition to be viewed for years to come. It affords future generations the enjoyment of these extraordinary creations by mankind.

Tourism During the Lockdown

Online excursions were popular long before the start of the pandemic. Museums, for example, considered these solutions an opportunity to preserve cultural artifacts in digital format. They also used it as a tool to attract a younger audience and to display cultural objects to those living in remote areas.

Following the quarantine announcement, many world-leading museums started offering virtual tours, such as the Hermitage and the Louvre. In the case of an extended quarantine, existing virtual tours will become even more popular. As for creating new online excursions, it’s not a quick process. It takes about 1-3 months to create a virtual tour if photorealistic images are required.

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Experts consider the industry of digitized tourism quite a promising one. It will perfectly suit those with limited opportunities or students studying history. Instead of an in-person guided tour, they could get acquainted with places of interest right from their classroom and see even more than if they went on a real tour.

Real or Virtual?

There are a number of experiences that are difficult to replace with virtual reality. Each year tourists travel to warm destinations to enjoy sunbathing and relaxing on the beach, an experience that is impossible to recreate via VR. Many also make religious pilgrimages to monasteries or mosques to pray, meet other followers, and carry out religious rituals. These types of travelers would most likely be offended by the idea of a virtual visit to such religious sites.

Despite its limitations, VR still has a number of benefits and could simplify traveling in the future. Virtual tours would give tourists the ability to get familiar with a destination before going, get acquainted with airports, and evaluate hotels, etc. which could offer peace of mind to the traveler. It would also allow them to create a clear itinerary for their trip and save time.

Specialists believe that, unfortunately, it will be difficult to sell virtual tours of destinations to tourists. However, many tourist agencies are considering having VR gadgets in their offices with pre-installed travel itineraries to help sell their services.

“Not sure how to get out of the airport in Bangkok? Take that VR helmet in the corner! Watch the video!” “How far is it to the mosque, and where’s the entrance? Select video number 5 – it’s all described in detail in the video!”

Tourist agencies could buy such virtual tours and use VR equipment to facilitate their work.

As you can see, virtual tourism creates a new business environment. Leobit helps its clients to design and develop new and effective software solutions, including those using .NET technologies. You can transfer .NET software development to Leobit and get a unique solution for the best competition in your industry.