Virtual tourism has remained a sci-fi fantasy until now, but a society molded by Covid-19 may be ready to embrace it.
COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has had a significant impact on the worldwide leisure and tourism business, with international travel bans affecting over 90% of the world’s population.
Widespread limitations on community mobility are expected to result in a 30 percent drop in international tourism arrivals.
Because of the rapid development of Virtual Reality (VR) and its effectiveness in simulating real-life experiences, it is now possible to take virtual vacations even when actual travel is not possible.
The tourism sector has reached a low point as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. It will be affected for at least the first three quarters of 2021, according to a new UN report, with worldwide visitor arrivals down 87 percent in January 2021 compared to January 2020.
Travel over post-pandemic concerns
Travel will triumph over post-pandemic concerns, necessitating the aviation and tourism industries’ development of safer infrastructure and policies that ensure the safety of passengers.
Through travel booking websites, movies, blogs, and trip photography, technology has helped the travel and tourism businesses expand their reach over the previous few decades.
Vacationers planning their next vacation or making a destination wish list will find digital tools and content to be a valuable source of knowledge.
While remote or virtual tourism has long been a futuristic topic in industry forums, the world today, shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic, may finally be ready to accept it.
A human-centric design that combines cutting-edge technology like augmented, virtual, or mixed reality (AR, VR, MR) with cognitive behavior, social psychology, neuroscience, and behavioral economics could be a game-changer.
Viewers may have a continuous, uninterrupted interactive experience from their own private location using AR, VR, and MR. The design concepts will result in a seamless digital user experience and a pleasant impression of a tourism location.
Virtual reality’s recent advancements
Virtual reality’s recent advancements also serve as an alternative to real-world travel, as tourism has suffered significantly as a result of the pandemic.
It can also assist folks in planning their next vacation. Buying VR equipment, such as Facebook’s Oculus Rift or Google Cardboard, can cost as little as $300.
A virtual platform could potentially allow users to explore locations where terrorism is affecting or being combated. Imagine viewing the Gurez Valley in India’s union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, with its unique fauna and snow leopard.
With enough planning, one could journey to the South Pole, space, and beyond. It could also be used as a resource for students to learn about geography, culture, art, and history.
With technology improving people’s lives all around the world, virtual tourism has the potential to re-ignite the tourism sector and its people, as well as contribute to the development of a more sustainable economic model.
However, it is vital to deliver focused stimuli to additional sensory modalities besides auditive/auditory and visual exposure in order to experience actual tourism with the use of VR.
Interaction is also important for a great travel experience, which is a topic that future studies may want to investigate.