The Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown restrictions had greatly halted many people’s travel plans in the last few months. With so many people being stuck at home for the unseeable future, virtual reality travel is being predicted as the future of travel and tourism.
Virtual Reality refers to interactive images or videos that enable the viewer to explore the entire 360 degrees of a scene. This travel technology allows anybody to see attractions, hotels, and many other features of a destination before booking a trip. While some travel companies and tourist attractions have used VR in the past, the pandemic has caused its use and popularity to skyrocket. Hotels and attractions can use VR technology as a strategic marketing tool. By offering a virtual tour of a hotel, travelers can make a more informed decision.
While virtual reality technology can help with trip planning, it can also allow you to travel without traveling. Virtual reality offers tech-savvy travelers an immersive, and safe travel experience in the comfort of their own homes. The Tourism and hospitality sector has been hit very hard by the pandemic and by leveraging virtual reality technology countries can encourage and support local tourism despite the pandemic. For example, in the Maldives, VR has been used to showcase various experiences on island properties, such as morning yoga by the beach, snorkeling, or cooking lessons.
Virtual Reality Tourism Locally
Locally, Cape Town Tourism had launched a campaign with the theme “We Are Worth Waiting For!” during the COVID-19 pandemic. The main message around this multimedia campaign is to encourage travelers to visit Cape Town in the future when is it is safe to so. The campaign paints playful parallels to a long-distance relationship – from falling for the city at first sight to remembering that absence makes the heart grow fonder.
In some ways, Virtual reality makes travel and tourism a lot more accessible to many people who cannot afford to travel. That being said, virtual tourism is designed not to replace conventional tourism, but to keep tourists’ interest during the pandemic so when the situation improves, they will be keen to travel again. No longer merely a tourism gimmick, virtual reality has become an integral part of the tourism and travel industry.