Ever wondered how you can travel from your bed? The metaverse is your answer.
The pandemic has greatly hindered tourism, one of the most critical sectors of the world economy. Lockdowns and quarantines have limited the flow of people all over the globe, especially in countries that are popular tourist destinations. Given that, technology companies are attempting to invoke the metaverse into the industry to bring back the flow of tourism revenue.
With the metaverse, users can explore the world’s wonders and participate in cultural events without physically being there. You can travel from Hong Kong to Paris without packing your bags and taking a 13-hour flight. You can also travel back in time and watch a battle between gladiators in the Roman Colosseum. Let’s look at how the metaverse will play a role in global tourism!
1. Visiting any destination is just a headset away
Metaverse travel allows users to visit countries on their bucket list anytime they want. The longest flight in the world, from Singapore to New York, will only take just a flick of the switch in the virtual world, and you will be there in a flash. Using virtual reality (VR) or mixed reality (XR) headsets, you can go to any country you like and visit spectacular scenic spots without lifting a finger.
2. Traveling back in time
Say you want to capture the eruption of Mount Vesuvius or experience life as a Viking. The metaverse can make our dream of time travel come true—virtually. With immersive technologies, users can delve into the past and explore the rebuilds of the recorded events. For instance, the travel metaverse Ariva Wonderland is incorporating the concept of time travel to offer users a chance to visit virtual versions of real-world landmarks at different points in time.
The cultural value of immersive experiences of historical events exceeds the insights gained through an in-person trip to the remains and landmarks. What makes it different from watching a YouTube video is that you will feel that you are actually in the scenarios, which allows you to experience a series of emotions.
3. Brining tour guides back in the business
Tourism provides livelihoods for many in both developing and developed economies. Ever since Covid-19, the tourism business has gone down considerably. Unemployment rates have risen, and about 120 million direct jobs in tourism are at risk. The strict social-distancing measures have prohibited and discouraged people from leisure traveling. Tour guides across many traveling agencies have thus lost their source of income.
Tour guides are essential in the interpretation of cultural sights. Hence, the metaverse can create potential job opportunities to bring tour guides back into the business. Tour guides can give users instant guidance and explanations of artifacts or scenery. And with metaverse tourism, you will even have the freedom to choose your tour guide and even what their avatar looks like, depending on your preferences.
4. Helping you pick the best accommodations with an immersive room tour
Of course, we all miss taking trips in the real world, being in another country, enjoying foreign cuisines, sunbathing in the summer breeze next to the sea… In that case, you will also want to stay in a good hotel where you can switch off completely after a long day. To enhance the guest experience, you can take a virtual tour of the hotel to inspect the hotel room of your choice and the facilities in the metaverse. When you browse the websites of hotels,
you can only get a rough idea of what it would look like through a few pictures, which do not offer an accurate spatial construction of the space. In a 360° virtual hotel tour in the metaverse, you can walk around your ideal hotel room and even move and interact with the objects in the room.
Tourists can also book the venue virtually by using blockchain technology to verify their identity. Realistic room tours and the high booking security provided by blockchain technology will greatly boost the morale of the hospitality industry in the long run.
5. Traveling is more than just walking around
As the old Chinese proverb says, “Reading ten thousand books is not as good as traveling ten thousand miles.” Going on trips can be rewarding and intellectually inspiring. The metaverse can make learning while traveling exciting and rewarding by infusing interactive elements—just like in the science action movie Ready Player One, where characters go on treasure hunts in a VR universe to save the world.
To take the game to another level, tourist sites can make use of immersive technology to develop interactive tours, such as scavenger hunts, to attract and engage tourists. Tourists can do more than just roam around to satisfy their eyeballs, as they are encouraged to learn and explore more about the sites. This might even lure them to actually visit the sites physically!
Another perk of taking a trip is meeting new people! Meeting new people while traveling in the metaverse is a piece of cake. For instance, Meta is planning to build a real-time translation app for metaverse with artificial intelligence (AI) using which users can communicate with and understand each other instantly despite speaking different languages.
What’s more thrilling than getting rid of language barriers when making friends is that you can even shake hands with each other and actually feel it! The U.S.-based tech startup Emerge is developing technology to allow users to feel the metaverse experience physically by using realistic ultrasonic waves to create a sensation of touch. Great news for us all, as we definitely miss physical contact a lot after years of quarantines and lockdowns!
Future of metaverse tourism: space trips
Still think space tourism is futuristic and surreal? Many tech companies, such as SpaceX and Virgin Galactic, are already offering space trips. There is more to come in this realm, such as an elevator that takes you to space, as we all are probably very curious as to how it feels to look back on Earth from outer space. It sounds great, but the price for a one-week trip to space is simply unaffordable. With the metaverse, a virtual spacecraft of your design (which could even be your very own NFT) can transport you to space, and it wouldn’t cost US$450,000.
Buckle your virtual seatbelt, as we set off on an astonishing journey into the metaverse and what it offers.
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Header image courtesy of Freepik