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Virtual reality in travel industry: a real game-changer?

2017 is the year of virtual reality! The same as the year before and the year before. Yes, VR has become old news, although it is a field that has yet to show its full potential. Various industries are looking at virtual reality as a possible extension for their businesses, and traveling is possibly the one that can actually nail it. Virtual reality in travel industry has fantastic potential.

It should be noted, however, that the technology is pretty raw, and the virtual reality most people can afford is far from the sci-fi immersive experience we expected. Watching 360° videos in a simple VR headset like Google Cardboard is the most virtual of realities you can get at home for now. And though there is not much quality content yet, it still is pretty amazing to see the Coral Reef not getting up from your couch.

The way people travel has definitely come a long way from early human migrations. We’ve seen feet, wheels, cars and airplanes. Is virtual reality the next step? Let’s find out. We’ve selected progressive companies, breathtaking destinations and world-famous cities that learned to embrace the possibilities of VR.

YouVisit

The first one on our list is, of course, YouVisit – the leader in creating VR content for destinations, businesses and universities. YouVisit is an award-winning content producer with more than 1000 pieces of interactive VR experiences. They can boast one of the largest and most professional virtual reality production teams in the world who deliver beautiful pieces of immersive content.

Using a VR headset, a mobile device or a computer, you can enjoy their views of the capitals, largest cities and famous sightseeing places of Belgium, Uruguay, Thailand, Nicaragua, Ireland, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, the US, Albania, China, Israel, Spain, Turkey, Vatican, Germany, London, Rome, Croatia, Vietnam, Austria, Guatemala and many more. To enjoy virtual reality tourism with YouVisit through a VR headset, download their app from the App Store of Play Market.

Ascape

Finding quality pieces of VR content can be frustrating, but Ascape, a virtual reality app for traveling, has it all sorted out for you. Their experts search through hundreds of 360° videos to hand-pick the ones with the perfect picture and sound quality. Ascape also organizes content into collections of countries (Hawaii, Australia, North Korea), activities (Rio Carnival), spiritual journeys, underwater shoots, videos for kids, guided tours and content from tourism giants like Thomas Cook, JetBlue and Oasis Travel.

All you have to do is download the Ascape mobile app and enjoy watching all of their videos and collections. You can choose a destination from the list or pick one from the map. You can also download trips to watch them later or without an Internet connection. Some content is free and some you need to pay for – either way you’ll get a magnificent view.

Jaunt

Not only does this startup offer more than 150 pieces of premium cinematic VR content through their free app. Jaunt also creates hardware, software and tools for filming and editing in virtual reality to bring to life the best VR content possible. Their team of scientists, engineers and broadcast professionals claims to define the future of storytelling. And they actually succeed.

As far as virtual reality for the tourism industry is concerned, Jaunt creates beautiful immersive experiences by teaming up with international brands. Together with Tastemade, they created “A Perfect Day” in Los Angeles; a journey through Nepal was filmed in partnership with The North Face; Greenpeace was involved in filming a VR expedition to the Arctic. Jaunt also offers virtual trips to Machu Picchu, the Galapagos or Iceland.

British Columbia

Canada has always been considered the country of nice people and magnificent nature. Its westernmost province, British Columbia, is the place for some of the most thrilling hiking and skiing experiences. One of the ways to promote tourism in the area was filming 360-degree videos showcasing the wilderness of the country. Join a hike through the rainforests and mountains, enjoy a boat ride down the river with sea lions, ride down one of 13 ski resorts of British Columbia. You’ll love virtual reality tourism in Canada.

Australia 360

If you’re looking for virtual reality tours from down under, go to Australia’s official YouTube channel. It offers marvelous aquatic and coastal 360 experiences of the country’s famous destinations and attractions. Swim with dolphins at Glenelg, go snorkeling in the Great Barrier Reef, watch quokkas run around the Rottnest Island, surf on the Gold Coast in Queensland, see the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House and much more. The videos are short but and there are plenty of them, so you’ll definitely have the time to virtually feel Australia.

Another way to see Australia sitting in your sweatpants is through 360-degree videos created by Qantas airlines. Enjoy the virtual reality travel experience of Hamilton Island and Sydney Harbour Qantas has created in cooperation with Samsung specially for you.

Las Vegas

The legendary city of Las Vegas needs no introduction. Being a place that attracts millions of people from around the globe, Vegas has mastered the art of promoting itself. The Vegas VR mobile app is a brilliant example of an interactive city guide, or should we say Sin City guide. The app lets you check out the best attractions, hotels, restaurants, clubs and activities Vegas has to offer via gorgeous 360° panoramic videos. Everything you’ll see through your VR goggles will be luxurious, extravagant and grand – synonymous to Las Vegas.

Having seen many examples of virtual reality tourism, we can surely say VR does let you go virtually anywhere (pun intended). But is it ready to “redefine travelling”? All skepticism aside, no. Like we said earlier, the technology is quite raw, high-quality content is expensive to make while low-quality pieces look so bad they shouldn’t exist at all. But most importantly, rarely do people own at least a basic variety of a VR headset. So, what’s the verdict? VR does have terrific potential but it still has a long way to go before taking you on a real adventure.