She stood on the edge of a cliff in some remote part of Costa Rica. She looks around in awe, swiveling her head in all directions, at the enthralling beauty of nature around her. She could see the birds flying and waves crashing on the rocks below. It was a sight to die for. She smiles and says, “This place is so beautiful. Please get me a 7N tour package for Costa Rica” as she removes the Oculus Rift headset she was wearing.
She was never there physically. She was miles away, on the other side of the globe, in a Travel Agency’s office where she was trying out the demo of the new Virtual Reality technology that can place a person in an exotic location.
This is the future of traveling. The technology that is going to transform traveling in the years to come.
It is great to go places and it is also great to sit in your couch and let virtual reality transport you to your destination. That is exactly what the tourism industry is doing now. They are targeting the next-gen travelers with a ‘Fly before you Buy’ offer where they provide people with the life like immersive experience with the VR tech. People can do a beta testing of the place they want to visit before actually booking the tour package.
The technology is still in it’s making with virtual travel quite far away from being mainstream. Travel brands are still figuring out the best way to reproduce the best immersive content for the ideal user experience. Today’s brand of VR headsets and the fragmented VR ecosystem are not able to provide the seamless and engaging experience despite the excessive supply of content. But this technology can be a good marketing strategy for tourism brands and the ones who provide this technology can make millions.
With the popular Oculus Rift and Sony’s Project Morpheus, the future of VR seems bright. With a High Quality 3D display these VR headsets can immerse you in a tropical village in SE Asia minus the bugs and heat and you can also navigate around using a remote controller. Combined with a gyroscope, compass and accelerometer, these headsets can give you a lifelike experience.
But will such VR glimpses inspire someone to get off the couch and travel. Well that we will know with time as the technology develops. I do believe this technology can help people with disabilities and health conditions to have a glimpse of the world outside.
But I also visualize is a scary world in the distant future, where there are weatherproof solar-powered robots and drones fitted with 4K 360 deg cameras, buzzing around the world operated by people with VR headsets and controllers. Will the next gen travelers travel the world sitting on the couch munching on pringles. Maybe that is too far but I would love to see an episode in the next season of ‘Black Mirror‘ that uses this concept.
“Costa Rica has always been a dream destination for me…..It felt like I was really there. The experience was much more than I imagined.”, She said.