To promote travel packages and win over new clients, companies in the tourism sector are turning to virtual reality and 360° video to present holiday locations to potential travellers, with the kind of realism that previously could only be dreamt of.

And as the authors of a report entitled “White paper on 360° video and tourism” point out, these technologies can also be used by those in the travel sector to showcase the actual plus-points of certain types of accommodation or optional excursions – hopefully generating more turn-over. After all, what could be better than an immersion into virtual reality to size up an original-sounding offer from agencies and tour operators?


Big private travel companies and tourist boards excited by the prospect


The report, drawn up by experts from French start-up WideWebVR, states that several tourist boards in various parts of the world – including Colombia, Scotland, New Caledonia, Australia and even Haute-Provence in France – are already offering immersion images on their YouTube channels or via 3D virtual reality (VR) applications.

The same can be said of larger private companies which specialise in travel. Virtual reality is already part of the communication strategies of Thomas Cook, Prêt à Partir, Club Med and Expedia, with the latter using 360° videos and virtual reality to present certain key destinations and products including Australia, the US city of San Antonio and the Norwegian Flamsbana train line.


Airlines among main proponents of virtual reality


Other users of these technologies, which are already well accepted by the general public, include hotel chains Marriott and Shangri-La, as well as Lufthansa, which gives Internet-users the chance to take virtual interactive visits around the various cabins on its aeroplanes.

Airlines are among the biggest consumers of immersive experiences, according to the WideWebVR report. With virtual reality headsets now being more readily available, some airline groups have chosen to include VR films in their on-board entertainment systems, with certain Vueling and Qantas flights also showing 360° videos.


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