Get Us in Your Inbox
For homebound Americans, virtual events have become the best means of escaping the day-to-day monotony of quarantine, from cooking classes and online exercise videos to visits to landmarks and cultural destinations around the world.
Although the future is uncertain and the world is quickly changing, travel companies are adjusting to the new normal and are coming up with innovative ways to allow clients to “travel” from their living rooms. One such company is Virtually Visiting, which recently began offering online tours and experiences.
Jonny Cooper, CEO of Virtually Visiting, explains what goes into creating these new experiences, and how the idea of traveling digitally has caught on during the pandemic.
How did the idea of Virtually Visiting come about?The idea of offering virtual tours was something we started working on in mid-2019. Travel is something everyone dreams of, but not everyone can do, and we wanted to make free travel experiences possible for more people. The current situation has just fast-tracked the ideas into realization. Clients can join a tour or watch one of our videos by visiting our website or our YouTube channel.
How do these experiences compare to other virtual offerings?Our tours take virtual reality (VR) travel to the next level. We are making 360-degree 5K video experiences where people are immersed and treated like a private guest with a personal guide. The difference is the way we create and deliver our tours: They are viewed optimally through VR goggles, but they are still very enjoyable from a smartphone or a laptop.
First, we create an itinerary with some of the best places to see and things to do while there. We then release the 360-degree videos, which we call 360 Verus, and invite people to come on the journey with us. In between “trips,” we release a few bonus tours and experiences to share more of the magic of the destination. We will soon be working on some live tours, as well as personalized tours.
You have released your first tours, which highlight Swedish Lapland. Tell us a little bit more about that.
We have introduced the highlights of Sweden first, with other regions to follow soon. The Swedish Lapland tours and experiences include checking into the Arctic Bath hotel, seeing the area’s natural landscape from a hot-air balloon with the company Lapland Ballooning, meeting a moose, going on nature walks, taking cooking classes and visiting historic places and museums.
Do you think in-depth, immersive experiences such as these will help encourage people to travel again after the pandemic? We believe it will. Keeping people engaged with the world will only stimulate the craving to see it in real life for yourself. We are bringing the world to people’s homes in the realist possible way, with no unnecessary edits or cuts. Our experiences will make people feel as good as they can in a time where they can’t be out there traveling.
The immediate positive is that we allow people to go on adventures — albeit virtually — during a time where people are craving a change of scenery. In the long term, we hope to encourage travel to the destinations we feature.
The DetailsVirtually Visitingwww.virtuallyvisiting.com