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New technologies at the service of tourism: 5 virtual travel experiences

Updated: Sep 9, 2021

At the moment, we are advised not to travel outside our borders. And it's hard... Who wouldn't like to go abroad to get some fresh air and discover new landscapes? Well, we are saved from our boredom! It is possible to explore the world without moving from your sofa. This revolution is due to virtual tourism and technologies such as virtual reality (VR), which allow us to immerse ourselves in digital simulations of real or imaginary worlds. One click on your mouse and you are on the other side of the world!


Intrigued by all this? Here are 5 virtual tourism experiences to discover from home.


1. The World in 360° on Youtube


The first experience we propose is the simplest to do and yet few people know about it. Each of us has already used YouTube and still uses it more or less frequently. All you have to do is type in the search bar the name of a destination you would like to visit and add the number "360". You will then find many videos that will take you to the place you want to visit and, by moving your cursor while keeping the left click of your mouse pressed, you will be able to admire the streets and buildings around you. Depending on your preferences, choose a video with or without commentary, and you're on vacation abroad. YouTube channels like VR Gorilla are entirely dedicated to this kind of 360° video and can take you around the world. It's a solution accessible to all and efficient to decide on your next vacation or to marvel at the beauties of the universe from your home.






2. Elisa Jéhanno, remote tour guide


Elisa Jéhanno is a tour guide and lives in Paris. As you can imagine, the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown have had a great impact on her touristic activities. But Elisa has reinvented herself and now offers guided tours via videoconference to help you discover the City of Lights. How does it work? On the day of the tour, all you have to do is launch the Zoom video (or any other communication tool) and settle in comfortably to follow a customized itinerary in Paris with Elisa. She shares with you on the screen photos and visuals of the points of interest of the visit with a 360° view. You enjoy her anecdotes and comments live and you are visually immersed in the city. In the streets or inside the monuments, Elisa takes you to the trendiest places in the capital: the Seine, the Opera Garnier, the Montmartre district, the Louvre museum, the Eiffel tower and many others. An alternative to the traditional guided tour which enchants us in these times of lockdown!





3. National Parks in the United States on Google Art & Culture


Want to visit the United States and its beautiful national parks? The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks experience is available for free on Google Arts & Culture. You are invited to discover the Kenai Fjords National Park in Alaska, the Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii, Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico, Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah and the Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida. Abseiling down a glacier, flying over an erupting volcano, scuba diving... The experiences offered are real adventures! Once you've chosen your destination, you'll walk along the points of interest of the sites and observe the surroundings thanks to a 360° view. Throughout your walk, you are accompanied by a guide who gives you explanations on the places. Videos, photos and additional descriptions are also offered for a more in-depth immersion.


Discover this concept here: The Hidden Worlds of the National Parks




4. A live safari at &Beyond


Tour operator &Beyond, in collaboration with online safari broadcast experts WildEarth, is making live video of their daily safaris in South Africa available to all wildlife enthusiasts. Nothing could be easier than to watch them! Access the video of the day on the YouTube channel andBeyond between 6:30am and 9:30am and between 3:30pm and 7:30pm (Central African Time) and board the Jeep with your English-speaking guide. You then follow his itinerary through the private nature reserves of Ngala, Phinda, Tswalu, Djuma or the Pridelands Conservancy, and learn about nature observation through his commentary.

A more private and in-depth virtual safari alternative is also available. When you book your visit on the &Beyond website, you get to watch a safari with a ranger who interprets the phenomena you see and answers all your questions live. Children are not left out! The agency offers, as a virtual experience and upon reservation, sessions specially designed for your children to become real rangers and learn the key skills of the job.





5. Virtual tours at NASA


To finish, we travel slightly further ... to space! NASA offers many 360° virtual tours in English on its website. They give you the opportunity to visit not only the operational and research centers, but also the cosmos. In the form of YouTube videos or interactive maps with explanatory panels, the tours of NASA's laboratories and centers can be done at your own pace. Types of aircraft, technological tools, strategic functions of the team... The many descriptions open the doors to the mysteries of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration! If you want to walk in space, you'll first need to download NASA's Exoplanet Excursions software, available for free on the Steam and Oculus gaming platforms, and get a virtual reality headset. Once everything is in place, it's off on a journey punctuated by NASA's (updated) observations to the scientific representation of the TRAPPIST-1 exoplanet system and the Spitzer Space Telescope!





So, tempted by the adventure? Many other virtual travel experiences are waiting for you on the web.




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