The VRSciT project (2020-1-PT01-KA204-078597) has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Virtual reality: Applications and implications for tourism

Study Field
Culture and tourism
Summary
This paper demonstrates that VR presents both challenges and opportunities for tourism. Planning and management, marketing, entertainment, education, accessibility, and heritage preservation are all sectors related to tourism in which VR proves to be of great value. Also, VR experiences may become substitutes for real visits to threatened sites, overcoming problems related to travel cost and time and to tourism’s environmental impact. Challenges of using VR in the tourism sector are related to the future state of VR technology and the potential consequences of VR tourism substitutes. Numerous ideas for future research are presented in the paper.
Innovative VR tools and techniques
To create a 3D version of real objects exist two different methods:
- laser scanner: record data defining objects’ geometrical shape and colors;
- photogrammetry: acquisition of data through photos.

VR audio systems are usually composed of headphones and located speakers.

For tactile sensations researchers use often “haptic devices”.

Olfactory sensations are usually stimulated through olfactory displays.
VR in education
- VR experience can be evaluated by its capacity to provide physical immersion and psychological presence.
- All five senses should be stimulated to make a touristic VE as similar to reality as possible, but to date only the audio-visual part is effectively developed.
- Through VR it is possible to create realistic and visitable VE that tourism planners can analyze (e.g. a museum can test the potential popularity of an art exhibit).
- VEs prove to be an effective tool for tourism marketing.
- Visiting tourism destinations in VR may encourage real visitation.
- In many tourism destinations VR has been used for “edutainment” proposes.
- The feeling of presence into a VR assists the learning process and its interactivity.
- Virtual re-creation of different sites increases their accessibility for researchers and for the rest of the population, e.g. providing disabled visitors with alternative forms of access.
- Through VR it is possible to monitor the state of degradation of a site or an object and offer a blueprint for restoration.
- VR could be vital to preserve and protect heritage from the severe consequences of mass tourism.
- VR tourism substitutes can offer lower cost, greater safety, no language or bureaucratic issues and no weather concerns to people.
- The propensity to accept VR tourism substitute is influenced by the individual’s perceptions of the authenticity of the VE, by the travel’s motivations and by other constraints (poor health, lack of time/money, etc.).
Reference
D. A. Guttentag, Virtual reality: Applications and implications for tourism. Tourism Management Volume 31, Issue 5, 2010, Pages 637-651

The VRSciT Project

The VRSciT project (2020-1-PT01-KA204-078597) has been funded with support from the European Commission. This web site reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.