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Introducing Virtual Reality Tours

23 October 2020

 

Introducing Virtual Reality Tours

Following our last newsletter regarding the future of The Barcelonian’s tours, our time has almost come to introduce our very first virtual reality tour. From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain we have worked hard to adapt to the situation, but moreover, reinvent ourselves within our team in order to provide another product that could give Barcelona’s fans the opportunity to connect to our beautiful city. The latter was not only created for this rough period of 2020, it was also made to give an easier access to all those who have either visited Barcelona already, or do not have the opportunity to physically travel to Barcelona in the near future. This project is in collaboration with Globetrotter-VR. 

 What is virtual tourism?

 Virtual tourism, according to Tourism Teacher, is fundamentally a hybrid concept combining both the notions of virtual reality, and tourism. In reality, virtual tourism facilitates a tourism experience, without actually having to travel anywhere.

Virtual tourism has taken many different forms in the past years and comes in various degrees of technological capability. In its simplest form, virtual tourism may comprise of a mere video of a tourism destination. The “visitor” in this case, watches the video, utilizing their hearing and sight senses.

More sophisticated forms of this tourism include being immersed in an environment through the use of a headset or a simulator. It may involve the use of various props, and users are sometimes even required to wear gloves. There may also be additional sensations such as movement (like in a rollercoaster simulator), feeling (for example feeling hot or cold temperatures, or water spray) and finally, smell.

Virtual tourism covers a broad spectrum of digitally mediated reality, including virtual reality, as well as mixed reality and augmented reality.

As a matter of fact, the rapid growth of virtual activities expands far beyond the tourism industry. Many individuals today are purchasing homes without actually seeing them in person, having felt that a virtual tour was sufficient. Others are visiting museums through virtual tours and teachers are using virtual reality to enhance the educational experience of their students.

Virtual reality has very much become embedded in our everyday lives.

 “In the tourism industry today, virtual reality (VR) has been most commonly used as a marketing tool. Destination Management Organisations (DMOs), tour operators and tourist attractions have been using VR as a means of promoting for some time now; hoping that the VR experience will entice tourists and bring in new business.” – Dr. Hayley Stainton ( Tourism Teacher) Another technology that has already been working for many years now is the use of VR as an addition to physical tourism experiences. At a theme park, for example, we may see a mix of actual rides and virtual rides. Museums are also enhancing their exhibitions with virtual presentations and activities.

Nevertheless, this year we have also seen a tremendous growth in VR as an alternative to physical experiences.

The recent COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in the world limiting its travel, immobilizing the tourism industry almost completely. With many people confined in their homes and travel and tourism businesses not functioning, people have turned to the next best alternative- virtual tourism.

 

Visit Barcelona from home

 It may not be like visiting the city in real life, however it is definitely an immersing experience that will only take about an hour of your time. The convenience of being able to explore Barcelona from your very own desk without having to travel physically, is definitely worth a try. Especially if you are exploring it with your own guide, high quality 360º imagery, and locations chosen by The Barcelonian. After all, we do have the fame for designing unique experiences and guiding in special locations that will tell you stories not most visitors have heard about. To add to the surprise, the pricing of these tours will range between $12-$17 during this year. That is considered a fantastic price even comparing with other virtual tours in the market today- although we have to say that our virtual tours will also be “one of a kind”, just like our Barcelona day trips have been during the past 6 years.

 How does it work?

 Our VR Tours page will be updated soon, where you will be able to view the live products that are ready to be explored. We will first be launching the virtual version of  The Secrets of Barcelona, where the walking tour version of this experience could be found in the “Barcelona day tours” section of our website. However for the virtual tour, we will be giving two options :

 

1- Watch on demand:

 You will have a 7-day period to enjoy and explore the secrets of Barcelona on your own and at your own pace. Once the product is purchased, you will be sent a special link that will give you access to the tour.

 This VR tour can be done on your Desktop computer, a tablet, a mobile phone, and alternatively – a VR headset for a true VR experience.

 2- Book a live tour with your Barcelona guide:

 The on-demand tour is very exciting to explore on your own. However, if you would like an even more interactive and realistic experience, you could book a live tour with one of our best guides for this tour. The added value to this experience will be that you will have a live video call with the guide during your virtual tour, where they will take you through all of the attractions and stories as well as personally answer all your questions during the tour. You may upgrade to the live tour for an additional $4 USD only!

 The Future

 Barcelona guided tours have long been the bloodstream of the tourism economy of this beautiful city. Although it has been a challenging year for all of us at the travel industry, our time during confinement has broadened our horizons to connect Barcelona to further people around the world. From all of us in our team, we are looking forward to show you our city through our very first virtual reality tour.

 

 

-       The Barcelonian team

 

 

 

References :

https://tourismteacher.com/virtual-tourism/

 

 

 

     

 

   

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