While there are many examples of why people would choose to travel the metaverse over real life — for those with mobility issues, financial constraints, or during a global pandemic, for example — most VR and tourism professionals agree that it won’t replace traditional Travel anytime soon.
“The feeling and excitement of an actual flight cannot be replicated with current or future technologies,” says Jedrzej Jonasz, who works at LNG Studios, a virtual reality agency, with offices in Vancouver, Toronto and San Francisco. . “But we can replicate many of the sights and sounds of the travel experience and even some of the social aspects.”
As a result, travel brands and tourism boards are flocking to the Metaverse region. In mid-March, Travelzoo announced its new Metaverse division, a paid subscription-based service that gives its members access to virtual travel experiences. And in April, Emirates, the largest airline in the United Arab Emirates, announced plans to launch experiences as well as non-fungible tokens (a digital asset that can be sold or traded) in the metaverse for its employees and customers.
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Last December, hotel rewards program Marriott Bonvoy partnered with three digital artists to create travel-inspired NFTs that debuted at Art Basel Miami Beach. Qatar Airways recently unveiled the QVerse, which allows passengers to tour the premium check-in area at Hamad International Airport and inside the aircraft, as well as interact with a virtual cabin crew. The Singapore Tourism Board’s Tourism Technology Transformation Cube provides business support for augmented, virtual and mixed reality projects.
Why this fizz if it doesn’t replace physical travel? Many virtual reality and travel professionals believe that the metaverse will not only serve as a new source of revenue for travel brands and tourism boards, but will also be an important marketing tool that will help travel agencies reach a different segment of consumers and hopefully be a real inspiration for their life-journey.
It will also improve your travel experience, starting with better planning. “The Metaverse will help people choose their destinations by learning about the location before booking,” says Gavin Miller, executive vice president of Travel Edge, North America’s largest luxury travel agency. “There is nothing worse than having an idea of what you want in your mind, only to discover that you were wrong about one place.”
Second, it has the ability to improve ground motion. “It can enable travel experiences that are not possible in real life,” Jonasz says. “Like an animation that can show the past coming to life around you, depict places at different physical scales, or interact with subtle artifacts.”
Disney, for example, received a patent in December 2021 for technology that will display custom 3D images and visual effects on physical spaces. The family can see star Wars Characters greet them in a restaurant, where another person may see Mickey Mouse.
The metaverse may also make physical travel easier for some people. Pour les personnes qui ont des phobies et de l’anxiété à l’idée de voler, de grandes foules, d’être dans de nouveaux endroits ou dans des sociales, la réalité virtuelle offre un environnement contrôlé et thé rapie exposure. Several clinics across Canada already offer virtual reality therapy, including the Brain Wellness Center in Calgary, the Institute for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Ottawa and In Virtuo in Gatineau.
As virtual reality and metaverse become more common, there will be an increased demand for this type of therapy, says Dr. Since 1999.
It also has the ability to aid in navigation — overlaying digital directions, translating road signs — says Parisa Rose, a lawyer and VR educator in Kelowna. And while some may be reluctant to embrace technology — in travel and in life — Rose says she’s not going anywhere. “People and companies are still figuring out how to use it and how it might fit into our daily lives, but just like the other big advances in technology – personal computers, the internet, smartphones – I think it will be a part of our whole lives.”
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