In five years, you could tour Rome, learn about ancient ruins on a tour of the Colosseum … all from the four familiar walls of your living room.
At the very least, this is what a bunch of travel companies and mixed-reality joint ventures envision, with the help of augmented reality or virtual reality (AR / VR).
In 2021, about 59 million people in the United States will use VR at least once a month and 93 million will use AR, according to eMarketer estimates, an increase of 28% from 2019. Many of these experiences of mixed reality have been related to spaces such as gambling, fitness and shopping, but the pandemic directed people towards uses they had not previously considered, and with closed borders and planes on the ground, tourism was a of them.
Lithodomos, an Australian VR start-up, specializes in recreating ancient sites for tourism and education, rather than “a handful of monuments that are recycled … we want to open the world to the world,” Grace Olson-Davidson, a culture client for the company, said.
By mid-March 2020, Google was searching for “virtual travel” at 286%. And from March to June last year, monthly searches for the term doubled at least from year to year. In 2019, only 20% of travel brands planned to invest in RA or VR. But the pandemic wasn’t the only thing that changed the game; the launch of 5G also made waves. As networks expand coverage, RA / VR adoption will benefit from higher speeds and higher quality transmissions. In a 2020 survey of the expected benefits of 5G, 44% of American adults cited streaming VR content and 36% responded with RA experiences.
Below are four potential use cases for AR / VR in travel.
“Overtourism,” or an overabundance of visitors to popular places or regions, was a word of the year in the Oxford English Dictionary in 2018, and the problem has not been reduced. As borders reopen and travel takes off again, the world’s most popular places are likely to see an influx of tourists. Virtual reality and AR travel companies want to fix this.
Due to excessive tourism, the world’s most popular attractions, including U.S. national parks such as Yellowstone and Acadia, have experienced a significant increase in foot traffic over the years, which does not lend itself well to preservation. . For example, Thailand’s Maya Bay, a world-famous beach destination, has been closed for three years after overcrowding (think 5,000 visitors a day) contributed to the decimation of coral reef coverage.
“Everyone has their phones, everyone does geotagging, everyone tries to get that image,” Olson-Davidson said. “What if we gave it to them without them having to get there? Or make it accessible to people who can’t get here? ”
While it is unlikely that someone with a mandatory destination will replace a face-to-face experience with a mixed reality, it could help those who feel they need to check their list of popular tourist destinations, for example, experiences that usually require an expensive ticket or fringe. schedule, long lines and a very fast photographic operation, such as The Mona Lisa or Machu Picchu. A live, real-time virtual reality experience can help combat this fear of getting lost and help people stretch their travel budgets further, spending time and money on more organic experiences.
Flyover Zone, a VR start-up held in Indiana, specializes in virtual tours of cultural heritage sites and monuments around the world, often in collaboration with researchers and archaeologists. His current public visits include Baalbek in Lebanon, the Pantheon in Rome, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hadrian in Tivoli, Italy.
RV travel is accessible in several languages on smartphones, tablets, Macs, PCs, and RV headphones, and the company is currently adding a “multiplayer” feature to its app, allowing multiple users to experience the same. tandem RV tour. This is part of what made it appealing to teachers.
Since Flyover Zone specializes in ruin reconstructions, it has a number of 3D scientific representations of historic sites such as the Colosseum and the Rome Forum. It not only shows the current state of a site, but also its probable appearance thousands of years ago, including a “time warp” feature that allows the user to compare the appearance of an individual site through of time. The technology can also be used to increase travel in person, with an audio guide adapted to each point on the site map.
Lithodomos is also committed to the education sector. Its portal is based on links and not applications, ie users can access it from various devices through the web browser. The company is already in talks with schools and home education programs about its lesson plans.
Better travel planning
Luxury travel planners like the UK-based Black Tomato believe that while nothing can replace in-person travel, there are ways in which virtual reality and virtual reality can enhance the experience. Although the company has not yet invested in virtual reality or VR technology – “We’re probably a year or two before we see that this is a really indispensable part of the travel planning process,” Carolyn Addison, head of of product. the company projects that the technology could be comprehensive in some aspects of future travel.
Addison has had hoteliers wear VR glasses to launch their properties in Black Tomato, and the company is currently working with hotel groups on “VR lite” style shootings, for example, virtual tours of chalets and cameras. 360 degree properties. Because travel can be so expensive, RV can help provide you with a “don’t explain it” approach to planning a trip, as written reviews can only tell you a lot.
“When we have someone say,‘ I’m thinking of going to Sri Lanka; I’ve heard that the beaches are great. ” [it’d be great] to be able to get a travel expert to talk to our customers and say, “Yeah, the beaches are beautiful, but they’re beautiful that way,” Addison said, for example, showing golden sand versus white sand or giving someone look in person at a hotel room and a suite.
Suppose you’re heading to a world-renowned safari park – instead of sliding the camera roll to tell your friends and family about your trip later, maybe there’s also a way to experience it with a 360-degree camera. Degrees or VR Headphones. Some current “remote travel” experiences involve live video chat with a guide showing you; instead, this would mean that your loved ones would experience an aspect of a journey by your side. Think of virtual reality as an evolved version of the holiday slide show.
“They’ll start seeing what you see, talk to you about what you see, and have a collective experience shared that way, but only a few in the group are there in person,” Addison said. “Viously, obviously, the agonist [about] one such thing is that virtual reality is ultimately a kind of mirage; it’s so close you can almost touch it. “