Big tech companies, including Disney, Amazon, Microsoft, and Meta (formerly Facebook), are already exploring their own versions of the metaverse. And smaller companies like Equinox and Delta Reality are interested in working with tourism agencies to develop interactive and even game-like content in augmented, virtual and mixed reality showcasing various destinations.
One destination has already taken steps in this direction. In September 2021, Seoul became one of the first major cities to announce plans to go “meta” by 2023. Its metaverse platform, tentatively titled “Metaverse Seoul”, will feature many of the city’s top tourist attractions. city. Tourists will be able to feel like walking through Gwanghwamun Square, Deoksugung Palace and Namdaemun Market in what will be called a virtual tourist area without the hassle of in-person travel. They can even “attend” Seoul’s biggest festivals in the metaverse, including the jaw-dropping Seoul Lantern Festival, surrounded by hundreds of twinkling lights but no crowds.
Virtual tourism can serve as a stepping stone to in-person tourism. In early 2022, Madrid launched a free 360-degree virtual tour in Spanish and English for potential guests who want to make informed decisions about what to see when visiting Madrid in person. With around 40 of the capital’s most popular tourist attractions, users get a taste of the city by exploring its squares, museums, gardens, cultural institutions and cathedrals.
“The metaverse’s competitive landscape is getting stronger,” says Sivan, “and we as consumers love it.”
Make virtual travel easy and seamless
No one likes disruption on vacation, when the idea is to have fun, explore, get away from it all and relax. Users wanting a virtual travel experience will expect the same, which means that the technology must support smooth synchronization between users’ movements and visual perception so that visiting an Egypt or a virtual Australia is as close to reality as possible. Reduced latency is essential when creating this level of ultra-sensory content. This is also true for hotels and resorts competing for traveler interest, seeking to optimize guest stays with personalized packages and seamless experiences. One way to do this in the near future could be to offer users three-dimensional augmented reality tours of a hotel, resort or other site.