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Virtual Reality Travel Witnesses an Unprecedented Boom during the COVID-19 Lockdown

The past year has been rather difficult for many. Not only had the viral disease threatened the wellbeing of people around the world but also the ensuing lockdown had restricted their usual movements and confined them within the four walls of their homes. Presumably, travel and vacationing were well out of question. But that did not stop people from experiencing the exotic spots around the globe, thanks to the surprising virtual reality technology.

Take the example of Jem Jenkins Jonas. The British individual living in Wales was stuck at home for the better part of the previous year. However, he still fulfilled his daughter’s long-time dream to witness the Northern Lights straight from Iceland or the game reserves in South Africa through virtual reality. Jonas said that his daughter was more than amazed by this thrilling experience. He describes the technology as a lifesaver for them amid these challenging times.

A new interest

Similar to the Jenkins family, travel limitations due to strict lockdown protocols in most countries have sparked a new interest in virtual reality travel experiences. With advanced VR hardware and new apps, it has become more accessible and affordable than ever. With the help of these, people can now take a virtual trip to the deep forests of Amazon, Machu Picchu, or take a long drive down the southern beaches of the USA.

Alcove VR

Cezara Windrem, creator of the Alcove VR platform at AARP Innovation Lab remarked that the demand for VR travel is skyrocketing. They are getting more users adopting the experience every month.

Virtual Reality Travel Witnesses an Unprecedented Boom during the COVID-19 Lockdown

Alcove, a renowned virtual reality platform, enables its users to visit exotic locations, such as the island of Malta or the Pacific coral reefs while adding, also adding a shared experience that allows users to interact with others, even lead their family members who lack the technical skills to handle a VR headset.

Windrem said that they have heard from a lot of users who found out about Alcove from somewhere and decided to buy the VR headset for their elderly family members. This shared experience is not only limited to travel but also enables users to do other kinds of activities together during the lockdown, like playing chess with someone living on the other side of the planet.

Alternative for real-world travel

With the tourism industry majorly disrupted by the pandemic outbreak, virtual reality has become the alternative for real-world travel. App developers around the world have created a host of travel experiences. To access them, users can opt for VR hardware from Sony’s PlayStation, Facebook’s Oculus, or a more expensive Cardboard by Google. There are cheaper headsets that cost as little as $300 and most of the apps are available for free.

New growth vector

Virtual reality has been quite popular in the gaming world. But a new growth vector is becoming prominent in the travel sector. A report by GlobalData indicates that augmented and virtual reality had already been gaining significant momentum among tour operators and travel boards even before the pandemic started. However, the widespread adoption of VR technology among the masses for this purpose in the current timeline could provide the necessary push to the sector and help the technology step away from the alleged ‘gimmick’ label that is still attached to it.

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