The pandemic and the international lockdowns that have been in place for upwards of 12 months between 2020 and 2021, have meant that industries all over the world have had to get creative in an effort to engage and continue to captivate their target audience.
One of these industries is the luxury travel and hospitality world, including not just hotels and resorts but also all the high end experiences around the world which rely on the tourist and hospitality industry in order to survive.
While some concepts lend themselves to an inevitable future of social distancing, such as the Adharia Luxury Floating Suites which provide hospitality outlets to give their guests water-based experiences and accommodation all contained within their own individual 5* suite, and other accommodation trends like treehouses and campervans, others have had to think outside the box.
Enter Virtual Reality, and the vast array of virtual tours and experiences which users can now enjoy safely from the comfort of their own home. So, which destinations and locations have embraced VR and are offering unique experience wholly online?
New Zealand – One for Lord of the Rings fans
Located in the heart of Wellington is the Weta Workshop, famed for creating the effects and props for some of the greatest movies ever made – including the sets of hobbit land for Lord of the Rings. The owners of the workshop have created a Youtube tour of the workshop, giving captive viewers a behind the scenes look at some of their most renowned and famous creations. Can you match the prop with the movie for which it was made?
Amsterdam – For those who love History
If you go to Amsterdam, one of the major tourist spots is Anne Frank’s house and the tour that visitors of all ages can go on. Now, the location has created a VR app which can be accessed completely free of charge – which immerses you in the story of Anne Frank from the comfort of your own home.
Grand Canyon National Park, USA – For those who value immersive natural experiences
It’s difficult to portray the scale and beauty of the Grand Canyon on a screen, but the team at Google Street View have done a GRAND job in pulling it off. Enjoy the hike without leaving your chair, spinning and taking in all the sights from an array of different viewpoints and perspectives.
New York, USA – One for lovers of fine art and culture
The MET is home to some of New York’s finest art collections and the Opera, and now you can enjoy live performances form The Met through their website and live streams. A great induction into the world of opera for those who are new to the art form, or a wonderful way to pass an afternoon for those who would otherwise love to visit and hear the voices in person.
Australia – One for big animal buffs
The Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park has teamed up with Story Spheres to invite captive users and outdoor fans on a virtual tour of the park. Better still, this comes equipped with commentary and can be accessed and watched through your television – bringing every encounter and experience to life on the big screen at home.
Paris – One for the romantic in you
Another one which we have to Google to thank for. Taking a tour of Paris through Google is a romantic treat, giving luxury travellers their fix of French culture without leaving their homes. If you’re planning a romantic date, consider pairing this tour with some great wine and French nibbles, and play French music to set the scene.
Kenya – For those who love to get up close and personal with wildlife
Finally, to Kenya and the Big Five. There is nothing more thrilling than getting up close and personal with the world’s most powerful creatures – and thanks to the Live Safari Cam set up in Kenya, you now can! See everything as it happens, unfiltered, and completely natural. And while there may not be action 24 hours a day, patience will be rewarded when a big cat wanders on screen.
All of these experience and virtual tours show just how far the hospitality and travel industry has come in opening its doors and broadening its experiences for those all over the world. We can’t wait for borders to reopen and normal travel to resume – but until then, this list offers more than enough to fill a few afternoons.