How the Metaverse can help you plan your next trip

Virtual tours and real spaces. Find out how digital tourism is blasting off
Virtual tours and real spaces. Find out how digital tourism is blasting off | Image courtesy of Magnopus

Editorial Manager

The thrill of travel is impossible to replicate digitally. We all experienced this with endless virtual tours pushed onto our screens during the various lockdowns of 2020 and 2021. Now that we can go wherever we want, however, is there a place for technology and the Metaverse to help plan our next trips? Sol Rogers, Global Director of Innovation as Magnopus, explains how to get a better experience with a few clicks in the right place.

“Right now we live in two disconnected worlds: a 3D physical world (concerts, museums, offices) and a flat digital one, (websites, apps, videos). Living in two different worlds like this is unnatural for humans. We’re spatial creatures – we understand information and enjoy experiences much better when they interact with us and our environment, rather than being flat.” Sol explains, as an introduction to what he is doing with the technology at hand.

“The metaverse is happening but it’s about 10 years from being fully delivered. It will be a persistent digital reality that will give a sense of presence (the feeling you’re actually in a virtual world) and will be accessible from a range of different platforms, using augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), desktop or mobile. It will penetrate all aspects of our lives and change how we live, how we work, and how we interact with one another.”

The Metaverse is certainly here already but as Sol rightly points out, even a brief foray into the virtual spaces created so far on the platform will highlight how it is still in its infancy. But where can we expect it to go?

“The Metaverse will have the ability to make people feel like they are in the same space together, without the need for travel – a clear win for the environment and better use of time and budgets. These virtual environments can also be designed for optimal comfort and relaxation. We’ve all had access to Google Street view for years, we can walk down any street in the world and experience what there is to offer, but crucially this is a singular experience, there’s no social interaction which is a key element of the metaverse. For example, we could jump to Buckingham Palace together with VR headsets and it will feel so much more real!”

Sol Rogers enters the Metaverse

Taking a more practical approach, Sol took a look at our popular Icelandic adventure and thought about how he could plan the trip with virtual applications.

“Looking at the ‘Volcanic Iceland’ experience you could visit a digital twin that allows you to preview your accommodation at the Grandi Hotel and check out its unique features. You could take a sneak peek at the snowmobile tour of the glacier to better understand what was involved. Then when you’re actually on the trip, the technology can enhance your experiences in real-time. For example, when you’re gazing up at the Northern Lights, augmented reality could be used via a headset or a phone to point out constellations in the night sky, or tell you facts about the Aurora Borealis to further enhance this once-in-a-lifetime experience.” Sol tells us.

“I really like the idea that when we have AR glasses, I’ll be able to climb Kilimanjaro and my friend from the other side of the world will able to do it with me, seeing the same space (through a digital construct). He’ll be able to hear me and see me and I’ll be able to see him as an Avatar. We’ll be able to experience it together. He can’t do this for real due to his physical disabilities, and I physically can – but we can start to bring those two worlds together and that’s one of the joyous things about blending the physical and digital worlds.”

Although trips in virtual spaces are quite away from feeling like the real thing, they do tap into another movement that is becoming more prominent when thinking about travel.

Sharing memories and experiences in Iceland. With a like-minded group, you will spend your time talking about the fun stuff and not dwell on your own worries.

” We should travel less and make it more meaningful – we need to weigh up our impact on the planet and work out which experiences should be IRL and which should be digital. We should stop going to places that we are ruining – e.g. Everest has become a queue. We can make digital twins of these protected places and allow more people to experience them.”

Finally, what about places that are impossible to travel to now because they simply don’t exist?

“That is the future of travel and metaspaces. Time and travel can be warped into whatever we want them to be, whether that’s a history lesson taking place in the Roman heyday while gladiators do battle, or a physics class travelling to the outer realms of the galaxy to identify stars, we have the power to create whatever we want with the metaverse to help explain reality and provide unforgettable experiences. ”

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