By John Hunt
Life calendar_today 12 October 2020
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Unexplored Horizons: Virtual Reality Tourism

Virtual tourism has begun to gain traction in recent times and has now experienced a boom due to the coronavirus pandemic. The chance for everyone to take augmented reality sightseeing tours of popular destinations has changed the travel sector substantially.

With Covid-19 forcing the majority of us to sit at home, many expect that virtual reality travel will be crucial in saving travel and tourism sectors. Some of the things being worked on are ‘trips’ that require just a computer and internet, while some encompass you with their 360ยบ experience.

For example, the new travel technology helps you visit tourist sightseeing spots, hotels, and lots of other aspects of a destination prior to booking a flight. Although these travel resources were already put to use by some travel agents prior to the pandemic, they are expected to become much more significant when things go back to as they were.

Researchers are going full speed ahead with developing new VR experiences. For instance, experts at the Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University are working on a novel idea for virtual travel, using sophisticated mathematical methods and integrating livestream footage with existing images and videos of famed travel destinations, so they can assist in revitalizing an industry hit hard by Covid-19. They propose utilizing data science to update existing television and internet-based tourism experiences.

The goal is to make VR travelling more realistic via this new tech they call LAPO (Live Streaming with Actual Proportionality of Objects). Researchers are hopeful this could make popular destinations more accessible to senior citizens and those with physical disabilities. They claim all that is needed is internet access and a computer.

This would also create new job openings for tour guides, drone operators, photographers, etc., since virtual tourists would be paying for the augmented reality experiences.

There are tons of advantages to this kind of travel. You are safe from pickpocketers, safer from disease and you are given information regarding your destination in a much more accurate way than before. The last part especially goes for VR experiences that do not aim to replace the whole travelling-in-a-physical-way segment, rather provide you with a preview of your trip before you embark on it.

It seems as personalized tourism experiences could very well mean the future of the tourism sector. Only time will tell, but one thing is sure – the trip will be fun!