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Grand Canyon VR Experience

Best VR Tourism Experiences

Zornitsa Vuteva 3 weeks ago 0 8

With the ability to transport us to exotic locations and famous landmarks from the comfort of our own homes, VR tourism offers a unique and immersive way to discover the world without the need for physical travel.

From virtual tours of iconic landmarks to interactive experiences that allow us to engage with local cultures and environments, VR tourism is transforming the travel industry by providing a more accessible, sustainable, and engaging way to explore the world. In this article, we will explore the best VR tourism experiences that are pushing the boundaries of what is possible in virtual travel, highlighting the most innovative and immersive experiences that are changing the way we travel and experience the world.

Types of VR tourism experiences

  • VR Destination Marketing – VR can be used for destination marketing to provide immersive and interactive experiences for potential tourists. This can include virtual tours of destinations and interactive content.
  • VR Hotel and Tourist Attraction Tours – These are 3D virtual tours of hotels, resorts, and tourist attractions. They help facilitate the decision-making process for travelers and offer a more immersive experience.
  • Interactive Content – Interactive content for websites and social media platforms can be created using VR technology. This encompasses 360-degree images and videos that can be easily shared across platforms.
  • VR Museum and Theme Parks Visits – VR can enhance museum visits by providing immersive and interactive experiences for visitors. This includes virtual tours of exhibits and interactive displays, attractions and interactive games.

How we chose the best VR tourism experiences

We looked for diverse VR experiences that cover a wide range of destinations, including famous landmarks, cultural sites, and natural wonders. This ensures that you can explore different parts of the world without leaving your home.

It was paramount to opt for VR experiences that provide high-resolution imagery and 360-degree views to create a lifelike experience. Interactive elements, such as clicking on specific points to learn more about the site, can also enhance engagement.

We choose VR experiences that offer educational content, such as historical information, cultural insights, and language lessons. This can enrich your understanding of the destinations and prepare you for future physical trips.

Marriott VR Postcards

Marriott Hotels introduced ‘VRoom Service’ in 2015, allowing guests to order virtual reality experiences to their hotel rooms. As a part of this service, Marriott launched ‘VR Postcards’ – immersive 360-degree virtual travel experiences enabling users to explore destinations worldwide through the eyes of real travelers. The initial three VR Postcards showcased the Andes Mountains in Chile, an ice cream shop in Rwanda, and the vibrant streets of Beijing. These VR experiences were crafted to spark inspiration among Marriott guests and aid them in planning their upcoming travel adventures.

VR Tourism Experience

Marriott collaborated with Framestore’s VR Studio to create the VR Postcards, utilizing their expertise in 360-degree video production and virtual reality technology. Guests could access these VR Postcards through the VRoom Service, where they could request a Samsung Gear VR headset and headphones for use in their hotel rooms.

The VR Postcards formed part of Marriott’s overarching strategy to innovate and elevate the guest experience by leveraging emerging technologies. Through these immersive virtual travel experiences, Marriott sought to ignite the imaginations of its guests and motivate them to explore new destinations.

Grand Canyon VR Experience

The Grand Canyon VR Experience is a virtual reality game that enables users to explore the natural beauty of the Grand Canyon through a motorized kayak.

This immersive experience aims to provide a sense of presence and relaxation, making it an ideal introduction to high-quality VR. The VR environment is highly detailed and lifelike, featuring vivid visuals and procedurally generated animal life driven by artificial intelligence. Users can control the speed of their kayak using their virtual hands with Vive or Oculus Touch controllers. The experience offers both a daytime tour under the hot sun and a nighttime tour under the stars, complete with a realistic day/night cycle and the option to use a flashlight.

In addition to the kayak tour, the VR experience also includes virtual hikes and geological tours of the Grand Canyon, allowing users to explore the park in different ways. The VR experience is accessible on various platforms such as Steam, Viveport, Oculus Rift, and Meta Quest where it is priced at only $2.99.

Visit Wales

Visit Wales has adopted VR technology to promote the country’s attractions and inspire future tourists. The Welsh government has allocated £290,000 through the Tourism Product Innovation Fund to support six VR projects aimed at showcasing the country’s culture, heritage, and natural wonders.

One key initiative involves developing immersive VR videos by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales. These videos, such as ‘Dolphin Dive’ and ‘Flight of the Kingfisher,’ enable viewers to experience Wales’ remarkable wildlife. The videos have been exhibited at various consumer shows, wildlife attractions, and schools with the objective of sparking people’s interest in the country’s natural beauty.

The VR experiences have received positive feedback, with an impressive 85% of viewers expressing their intention to visit Wildlife Trust attractions after watching the videos. The younger generation has readily embraced the technology, while the older generation has also been captivated by the immersive experiences.

Cymru

In addition to the wildlife-focused VR content, Visit Wales has introduced a dedicated metaverse platform named ‘Cymru.’ This platform allows virtual visitors to explore a ‘Welsh-inspired landscape’ and immerse themselves in the country’s culture and heritage. The metaverse features attractions such as a historic castle with a concealed map of Wales, a cable car ride inspired by the one in Llandudno, and an amphitheater reminiscent of the one in Caerleon.

Blink Traveler VR overview

While the Cymru metaverse has been commended for its positive intentions and charming elements, including puffins and a miniature TfW train, it has faced criticism for its limited graphical quality and interactivity in comparison to more advanced metaverse platforms. Nevertheless, the metaverse serves as an innovative method for Visit Wales to exhibit the country’s offerings to a global audience.

The Sainsbury Wing VR Tour

The Sainsbury Wing Virtual Reality Tour at the National Gallery in London offers a comprehensive and immersive experience for visitors to explore the gallery’s collection of Early Renaissance paintings in 3D. The tour utilizes various technologies, including 3D scanning and virtual reality (VR) headsets, to recreate the gallery space and provide detailed information about each painting. Over 270 paintings in the Sainsbury Wing were scanned in three dimensions using a 3D camera, resulting in a highly detailed and realistic representation of the gallery space.

Visitors can don VR headsets to fully immerse themselves in the gallery, allowing them to move around the space and view the paintings from different angles. For those without VR headsets, a 360-degree tour is available on desktop, mobile, or tablet, providing a more traditional way to navigate the gallery and view the paintings. Information tags on each painting offer detailed descriptions and context about the artwork, accessible by hovering over the red circles on the painting.

The interface of the VR tour is designed to be user-friendly and minimalistic, enabling visitors to focus on the artwork without distractions. The immersive experience of the VR tour makes visitors feel as if they are physically present in the gallery, enhancing their understanding and appreciation of the artwork through detailed descriptions and context provided by the information tags.

The Sainsbury Wing Virtual Reality Tour is accessible on the National Gallery’s website, offering both VR headset and 360-degree tour options for desktop, mobile, or tablet users.

Realities

The VR travel app, ‘Realities,’ revolutionizes the way people explore and experience destinations. Using advanced virtual reality technology, the app allows users to immerse themselves in 3D environments, visiting famous landmarks, cities, and natural wonders from the comfort of their own homes.

With Realities, users can experience the grandeur of the Eiffel Tower, the majesty of the Grand Canyon, or the ancient history of Egypt’s pyramids without leaving home. High-resolution visuals and 360-degree views provide an immersive experience. Engage with the environment by clicking on specific points to learn more about the history or significance of the site. This interactive feature enhances the overall experience, making it feel more like being there.

Eliminate the need for physical travel by accessing these landmarks virtually from anywhere in the world, making global destinations more accessible to a wider audience. As technology advances, Realities will continue to evolve, offering more advanced and interactive travel experiences. New trends include super-realistic simulations that let users feel, touch and even smell places they visit.

Realities have helped the travel industry recover from the pandemic by providing a safe way for people to explore new places without actual travel. It keeps interest in travel alive and helps the industry stay afloat during times of restriction.

Realities offer innovative marketing tools, generates new revenue streams, and enhances customer engagement by providing immersive previews of destinations. It also has the potential to be used in education, offering fun ways to learn about history and nature.

You can experience Realities for free on SteamVR where it has received a rating of 7/10 stars.

BRINK Traveler

Brink Traveler offers a highly immersive virtual travel experience that lets you explore stunning natural locations worldwide as if you were physically present. It showcases photorealistic 3D environments captured through volumetric scanning, providing a genuine sense of presence and scale. The application is accessible on both VR headsets (PCVR) and mobile devices (AR). The PCVR version offers superior visual quality and performance, boasting four times the texture resolution compared to the Quest version.

Travel different apps overview

Brink Traveler currently boasts over 20 global locations, with an additional 7 locations exclusive to the Quest version. Recent updates have introduced 12 new locations, including spots in New Zealand, Greece, Spain, France, and the United States. Noteworthy in the latest update is the addition of an AI-powered travel assistant. Users can engage with the assistant through a virtual walkie-talkie to ask questions and acquire contextual information about the location they are exploring. Moreover, the app incorporates social features, enabling users to share experiences and venture through locations alongside friends and family.

Brink Traveler garners widespread acclaim for its top-notch photogrammetry, immersive audio, and its ability to offer a virtual travel experience that transports users without having to leave home.

BRINK Traveler is priced at $14.99 on both SteamVR where it has received 9/10 stars and Meta Quest Store where it has a rating of 4.4/5 stars.

First Airlines

First Airlines is a unique virtual reality airline based in Tokyo, offering immersive travel experiences without leaving the ground. The company uses cutting-edge VR technology to simulate flights to various destinations worldwide, including Paris, New York, Rome, and Hawaii.

Passengers are treated to a full on-board experience, complete with:

  • Each passenger receives an official boarding pass, adding to the realism of the experience.
  • Savor local cuisine from the destinations, prepared by top chefs and served by flight attendants.
  • Upon arrival, passengers can explore the destination through projection mapping and video features on their VR headsets.
  • Engine and radio sounds simulate the noises within an aircraft, further enhancing the immersive experience.
  • Passengers use VR headsets within a makeshift aircraft setting to experience take-off and landing, as well as the virtual city tour.

First Airlines offers flights in both business class (seating four people) and first class (seating up to eight), accommodating a total of 12 passengers per flight. The virtual reality flights are available for booking at affordable prices, starting from around 4,980 yen ($32) in business class and 5,980 yen ($38) in first class.

Blueplanet VR Explore

Blueplanet VR Explore is a curated collection of over 40 volumetric experiences showcasing powerful scenic and cultural heritage locations worldwide. The app provides photorealistic environments, a diverse range of locations, and the chance to explore inaccessible places. It utilizes advanced photogrammetric techniques to capture locations with great detail and accuracy, enabling users to immerse themselves in these remarkable places with a strong sense of presence and freedom to explore.

Blueplanet VR Explore features 50 distinct locations spanning 40 destinations, with the option to access additional content through expansion packs. The app requires approximately 18 GB of storage space, with extra room needed for expansion packs. It offers various functionalities, including hang-gliding flight experiences over stunning terrains and interactive elements that enhance users’ understanding and insight into the locations.

The app is accessible on the Meta Quest store and is compatible with Meta Quest 1, 2, and Pro models, as well as tethered VR on Steam VR with Vive and Index headsets. Users can test a free demo on Steam or enjoy a 15-minute trial on Meta Quest before deciding on purchasing the full app.

Final Thoughts From VR Today Magazine

The best VR tourism experiences leverage the technology’s ability to enhance accessibility, sustainability, and cost-efficiency, making travel more inclusive and environmentally-friendly. VR allows users to preview destinations, helping travelers make more informed decisions about their trips and leading to greater satisfaction. As VR technology advances, we can expect to see more innovative applications in the tourism sector, blurring the lines between the physical and virtual worlds. The future of travel is undoubtedly intertwined with virtual reality, offering endless possibilities for exploration, discovery, and unforgettable experiences.

Written By

Meet Zornitsa, our Content Manager, specializing in all things VR headsets and innovative VR use cases. With a passion for exploring the latest in virtual reality technology, Zornitsa is your trusted source for expert insights and informative content that will elevate your VR experience.

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