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5 Ways the Metaverse Can Be Used for Tourism


Callum Moates

Virtual tourism is on track to reach $24.1 billion by 2027, per a publication by Statista. With the evolution of the internet into a 3D space, also known as the metaverse, traditional tourism experiences are undergoing a massive transformation. The 3D internet offers virtual tours for better trip planning, 3D destination experiences to inspire bookings, time-travel tourism to historical epochs, immersive cultural experiences for deeper understanding, and eco-conscious explorations to encourage actions to safeguard our planet. These developments enrich the travel experience and herald a future where virtual journeys complement physical ones, making the world's wonders accessible to a broader audience and paving the way for a more inclusive, sustainable, and enriched form of tourism in the digital age.

  1. Virtual destination tours

The metaverse is a 3D internet that allows users to engage with interactive virtual- or augmented reality (VR/AR) experiences, changing how the world's most cherished tourist destinations are explored. Users can go on virtual tours of iconic landmarks, historic sites, and breathtaking natural wonders through platforms like Google Earth VR without stepping outside their homes. The Google Earth VR platform allows users to virtually explore famed landmarks, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Great Wall of China, or the Grand Canyon, providing a comprehensive 360-degree panoramic experience. This digital innovation transforms the tourism landscape, offering a seamless blend of reality and virtuality that allows explorers to traverse the globe in stunning 3D.

Some examples of virtual destination tours include:

  • Thomas Cook: The travel company created a 360-degree VR tour using actual recordings of their helicopter flights over Manhattan, resulting in a 190% increase in bookings.

  • Visit Wales: Utilized VR videos of dolphins and kingfishers to boost wildlife attraction bookings by 60%.

  • Marriott Hotels: VR headsets are offered in rooms at the New York Marriott and London Marriott Park Lane, allowing guests to virtually travel to destinations like Rwanda, China, and Chile using Samsung Gear VR headsets. This experience led to high guest satisfaction rates.

  • First Airlines: Tokyo-based company First Airlines provides VR immersive travel experiences with a real-size maquette of an airplane. It enables virtual travel for passengers who cannot do so by offering virtual experiences of destinations like Paris and iconic locations like the Palace of Versailles.

For many travelers, accessibility is a crucial advantage of virtual travel; individuals with mobility issues, financial constraints, or other limitations can now experience the joy of travel. Furthermore, virtual tours offer an affordable alternative to traditional travel, eliminating the need for expensive flights, accommodations, and other travel-related costs. From an environmental standpoint, the shift towards virtual tourism is poised to significantly reduce the carbon footprint associated with global travel, supporting efforts towards sustainability. For instance, the rise of virtual tours could alleviate the pressures of over-tourism on fragile ecosystems and historical sites, ensuring they remain intact for future generations.

Woman wearing VR headset looking up at an airplane in the sky surrounded by date palms
  1. Immersive cultural experiences

The metaverse opens up a world of immersive cultural experiences, enabling users to attend virtual festivals, concerts, and cultural celebrations from around the globe. It breaks down geographical barriers, allowing for rich, interactive participation in previously inaccessible events due to distance or cost. This virtual platform broadens the scope of cultural engagement and fosters a deeper understanding and appreciation of diverse traditions and art forms, bringing global communities closer together.

The Burning Man festival has been recreated on virtual platforms like Sansar, offering participants immersive experiences that replicate the art and essence of the physical event. Intel, Linden Lab's Sansar Studios, and the Smithsonian collaborated to develop a VR exhibit that faithfully reproduces the art from the Renwick Gallery's "No Spectators: The Art of Burning Man" exhibition, providing visitors with the opportunity to explore iconic pieces from the physical world exhibition in a virtual space. This virtual representation allows individuals to engage with the art installations, such as the Tin Pan Dragon and Truth is Beauty, in a detailed and interactive manner, offering a unique perspective on the artwork and the festival itself. These virtual experiences aim to immerse participants in another place, creating a sense of presence and connection with the art while expanding accessibility and engagement with cultural events.

The 3D internet has a significant potential impact on promoting cultural exchange and understanding. By facilitating access to various cultural celebrations, the metaverse enables individuals from diverse backgrounds to share and understand each other's traditions and values in a rich, interactive environment. This immersion fosters empathy and a deeper appreciation for cultural diversity as participants engage actively in the cultural narrative rather than merely observing.

  1. Virtual reality destination marketing

The metaverse opens up new frontiers for destination marketing, providing tourism boards, hotels, and attractions with the tools to create immersive promotional content. Through VR, potential visitors can explore destinations, accommodations, and attractions from anywhere in the world, offering a 'try before you buy' experience that gives a taste of the travel experience before they even pack their bags. This innovative marketing approach has the potential to transform how customers engage with prospective tourist destinations and, ultimately, increase the likelihood of visiting a location.

Visit Dubai has implemented a VR tourism activation to promote the city's attractions, from the Burj Khalifa to the Dubai Aquarium, through immersive experiences of location on the web or the Visit Dubai app. Dubai’s Tourism Board has also partnered with the Scandinavian travel agency Ticket to offer immersive experiences that boost local tourism. As a part of the campaign, Ticket trained 330 sales staff members in 69 stores to allow customers to experience Dubai in VR and inspire them to book a trip. The campaign increased 20% in the total number of individuals booking trips to Dubai.

Here are some benefits of virtual reality destination marketing:

  • Increased engagement: VR offers an interactive exploration of destinations, deepening users' emotional connections and engagement compared to traditional media. Data from a report by YuMe and Nielsen reveal that VR experiences captivate audiences 34% longer than conventional 2D content and 16% longer than 360-degree videos on a flat screen, showcasing VR's unique ability to deepen emotional engagement.

  • Stimulated visitor interest: Virtual experiences of destinations can ignite the desire to visit in person, effectively converting virtual interest into travel plans.

  • Informed decision-making: VR previews of accommodations and attractions aid in making informed travel decisions, increasing satisfaction, and managing expectations. According to a publication by Statista, 53% of individuals expected the process of planning a trip to be better through the 3D internet.

Man operating a hologram of Dubai
  1. Cultural education

Virtual reality cultural education experiences in the metaverse allow users to travel to historical sites virtually, participate in cultural rituals, and engage with cultural artifacts in ways that were previously only possible through physical travel. For instance, users can walk through recreated virtual versions of ancient cities, learning about their history, architecture, and society. This hands-on approach to education enhances learning outcomes and fosters a deeper appreciation and understanding of global cultures.

AltspaceVR, a platform founded in 2013, was a prominent space for virtual social gatherings like events, workshops, and meetings. The platform also allowed for cultural education through VR, offering virtual ‘language exchange’ events that facilitated immersive and interactive learning experiences. Through AltspaceVR's social virtual reality platform, individuals could engage in virtual language exchange sessions, allowing them to explore virtual surroundings, interact with others, and have discussions that enhance their language skills and cultural understanding.

Another immersive experience in the 3D internet, created by the World Economic Forum’s Global Collaboration Village in partnership with Accenture and Microsoft, helps individuals globally learn about the Amazon and its indigenous communities by virtually stepping into the Amazon rainforest through a multi-sensory experience. This experience combines art, dance, music, and spoken word to highlight the ecological and cultural significance of the region and its Indigenous communities.

The impact of virtual reality cultural education in the metaverse on promoting global understanding and interconnectedness is vast, offering a new dimension. Here are some key points highlighting its significant impact:

  • Learning accessibility and awareness: The metaverse makes cultural education accessible to a wider audience and helps develop cultural awareness, eliminating geographical and financial barriers to learning about global cultures.

  • Language skills development: Virtual environments offer real-time language practice with native speakers within culturally relevant contexts, enhancing both language proficiency and cultural understanding.

  • Cultural heritage preservation: The 3D internet acts as a digital archive for preserving and accessing endangered cultural practices and traditions, ensuring they remain available for future educational purposes.

  1. Eco-tourism

The metaverse is poised to revolutionize eco-tourism by offering VR experiences that transport users to ecologically sensitive areas worldwide. These immersive 3D environments allow users to explore natural habitats and conservation efforts without leaving their homes, thereby minimizing the environmental footprint associated with traditional tourism. Through virtual reality eco-tourism, the metaverse provides a powerful tool for environmental advocacy, education, and promoting sustainable tourism practices.

Conservation International offers a range of VR experiences that aim to raise awareness about conservation issues, engage audiences in immersive storytelling, and inspire action to protect the environment and biodiversity. For instance, the organization’s interactive virtual activation, "My Africa: Elephant Keeper," allows participants to care for a baby elephant at the Reteti Elephant Sanctuary in Northern Kenya, fostering a connection with wildlife and promoting conservation efforts in the region. Another notable VR experience is "Under the Canopy," which takes viewers on a journey through the Amazon rainforest, showcasing the area's biodiversity and highlighting the importance of protecting this vital ecosystem.

 Here are some key benefits of virtual reality eco-tourism:

  • Environmental advocacy: Virtual eco-tourism vividly highlights environmental issues like climate change, serving as a powerful tool for mobilizing support for conservation efforts.

  • Educational opportunities: It offers an interactive learning platform about biodiversity and conservation, enhancing knowledge and awareness among a global audience.

  • Sustainable tourism promotion: By simulating travel experiences, virtual eco-tourism reduces traditional tourism's carbon footprint and environmental impact, promoting sustainability.

  • Support for conservation: Engaging in virtual experiences can inspire users to support conservation projects through donations, participation, or adopting sustainable practices.


Callum Moates

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We build infrastructure for the 3D internet,
to create a richer, fairer internet.

Copyright ©️ 2023

Landvault · Wam Group

All rights reserved


We build infrastructure for the 3D internet,
to create a richer, fairer internet.

Copyright ©️ 2023 · Landvault · Wam Group · All rights reserved


We build infrastructure for the 3D internet,
to create a richer, fairer internet.

Copyright ©️ 2023 · Landvault · Wam Group · All rights reserved