When it comes to travel, Metaverse has real benefits

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Many virtual reality and travel professionals believe that the meta-verse will not only serve as a new revenue stream for travel brands and tourist advice, but also be an important marketing tool.franz12 / iStockPhoto / Getty Images

Although there are several examples of why people may choose to travel in the metaverse rather than real life – for those with mobility issues or financial constraints or during a global pandemic, for example – most Virtual reality and tourism professionals agree that it will not replace traditional travel anytime soon.

“The feeling and excitement of an actual journey cannot be replicated with current or future technologies,” says Jedrzej Jonasz, who works at LNG Studios, a virtual reality agency, and has offices in Vancouver. , Toronto and San Francisco. . “But we can copy many of the sights and sounds of a travel experience and even some of the social aspects.”

As a result, travel tags and tourist threads flow to the metaverse. In mid-March, Travelzoo announced a new Metaverse department, a subscription-based payment service that gives its members access to virtual travel experiences. And in April, Emirates, the largest airline in the United Arab Emirates, announced plans to launch experiences as well as non-fungible tokens (a digital asset that can be sold or traded) in the meta-verse for its employees and customers. .

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Last December, the hotel rewards program Marriott Bonvoy partnered with three digital artists to create travel-inspired NFTs debuting at Art Basel Miami Beach. Qatar Airways recently unveiled QVerse, which allows passengers to visit Hamad International Airport’s premium check-in area and the interior of the aircraft, as well as interact with a virtual cabin crew. And the Singapore Tourism Boards Tourism Technology Transformation Cube offers business support for augmented, virtual and mixed reality projects.

Why this flare so if it will not replace physical travel? Many virtual reality and travel professionals believe that the meta-verse will not only serve as a new revenue stream for travel brands and tourist advice, but also be an important marketing tool that will help travel agencies reach another segment of consumers and hopefully inspire a genuine – life journey.

It will also improve the travel experience, starting with improving the planning. “Metaverse will help people choose their destinations by getting a feel for the location before booking,” said Gavin Miller, executive vice president of Travel Edge, North America’s largest luxury travel agency. “There is nothing worse than having an idea of ​​what you want in your mind, only to find that you have made a mistake in one place.”

Second, it has the ability to improve the motion of the earth. “It can provide travel experiences that are not possible in real life,” Jonasz says. “Like animations that can show the past come to life around you, visualize places on different physical scales or interact with delicate artifacts.”

Disney, for example, received a patent in December 2021 for technology that will project custom 3D images and visual effects onto physical spaces. A family could see Star wars characters greeting them at a restaurant where someone else might be watching Mickey Mouse.

Metaverset can also make physical travel more accessible to some people. For people who have phobias and anxiety about flying, large crowds, being in new places or in social situations, virtual reality provides a controlled and safe environment for therapy. Several clinics across Canada already offer virtual reality therapy, including the Brain Wellness Center in Calgary, the Institute for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Ottawa, and In Virtuo in Gatineau.

As virtual reality and the meta-verses become more common, there will be an increased demand for this type of therapy, says Dr. Stéphane Bouchard, Professor at the Université du Québec en Outaouais and holder of the Canada Research Chair in Clinical Cyber ​​Psychology, who has been researching the use of virtual reality for anxiety disorders since 1999.

It also has the potential to help with navigation – overlaying digital directions, translating road signs – says Parisa Rose, Kelowna-based VR lawyer and teacher. And while some may be reluctant to embrace technology – on the go and in life – Rose says it’s going nowhere. “People and businesses are still figuring out how to use it and how it can fit into our daily lives, but like other major advances in technology – personal computers, the internet, smartphones – I think it will be a part of our whole lives. ”

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