The appeal of using virtual reality (VR) for tourism purposes is simple, the tech allows anyone from wherever they are in the world to experience what their chosen destination will be like. VR has already been used by airlines and tourism operators, and now promoting travel to the Hawaiian Islands, the Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) is introducing a VR tour experience.
Four islands, Oahu, Maui, Kauai and Hawaii, are featured in the Hawaii VR experience with the tour starting with the user floating as a paraglider through clear blue skies above the islands. Users select an island to explore, then descend into the midst of a tour experience highlighting that island’s particular allure, environment and attractions with an island-based resident narrates as the tour guide.
Hawaii VR combines live-action footage with interactive elements, offering a virtual sightseeing of the islands spectacular landscapes, including coastlines, waterfalls and rainforests, coupled with activities, such as hula, surfing and catamaran sailing.
Leslie Dance, HTA vice president of marketing and product development, said, “Anyone who loves Hawaii or dreams about coming here is going to be amazed at how they can suddenly be in the islands whenever they want and capture the magic of being here. This virtual reality tour is a new platform for showcasing Hawaii’s culture and natural environment, the two pillars of our global appeal.
“This VR experience will be an educational tool for travellers, as well as travel trade professionals, about the diversity of the Hawaiian Islands and help inspire the booking of vacations.”
The tour will debut at the 2016 Hawaii Tourism Conference, 26th-30th September 2016, at the Hawaii Convention Center, with demo stations placed in the conference Tech Hub of the Village Square for attendees to try out.
The experience was conceived by OMD’s Zero Code in collaboration with Hawaii-based agency MVNP and visual effects shop Framestore. The HTA will also be launching a version for Oculus Rift and Android smartphones later this year.
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