International travel in 2020 was brought to an abrupt halt by the Covid-19 pandemic and today, it does not seem like it is going to resume anytime soon. Yes, vaccines are a hopeful glimmer for the travel-deprived tourists but it is still way too early to bring the tourism industry back to its pre-covid freedom.
In the absence of travellers, hotels and attractions worldwide have turned to the digital realm to stay connected with their customers. And, what began as a temporary marketing gimmick is looking to be a long-term tourism tool. With the unprecedented development of virtual tourism, 2021 is set to be one of tourism’s most significant years to date!
If you are still not a believer, here are some Virtual Tour Trends that are reasserting the reality of alternative travel.
Going Beyond The Tourist Trail
The tourist crowds have disappeared and in its place, the true beauty of a destination shines through. Without the endless sea of people blocking your view, this is probably the best time to see existing tourist sites like never before.
Travel platforms and tour guides around the world have jumped on the virtual tours bandwagon. You can now travel to almost anywhere in the world with a click of a button, and be transported to meet your personal live tour guide. Through their eyes, you can not only explore deserted famous attractions but also get to experience the daily life of the locals.
Some platforms that offer a myriad of livestreamed virtual tours are ToursByLocals, Airbnb Online Experiences and Amazon Explore. From private farm tours in New Zealang to exploring Prague through role play of a plague doctor, these virtual travels are fascinating experiences that most travellers would not have access to pre-covid.
One such virtual trip that was a hit with online audiences is ‘Forest Bathing in Kyoto’. Together with a local host, you are taken deep into the sacred Fushimi Inari forest to learn about Shinto rituals and how forest bathing is done at one of Kyoto’s oldest shrines.
Enhance Education With Virtual Learning Journeys
Although a big part of the world is on lockdown, many aspects of life have to go on and one important part is Education. Schools and teachers had to devise new methods and adapt changes to the curriculum for students who are unable to attend school. One good example is home-based online learning.
Out-of-classroom ‘Learning Journeys’ are also a key component in the education system. Since large group gatherings are still not allowed, Virtual Learning Journeys have become the new trend and are especially important during these unprecedented times. From their homes or classroom confines, students can continue to enjoy learning from real-life experiences that are beyond the textbook.
Here in Singapore, one pioneer of Virtual Learning Journeys is Lion Heartlanders. Teaming up with Monster Day Tours, they designed a hybrid programme that combines LIVE streaming and in-class activities. Accompanied by the live guide and a class facilitator, students can "follow" the guide on a customised itinerary and engage real-time in a multi-sensory experience.
The possibilities of school outings are endless on a virtual trip. You can visit a local farm to understand sustainable farming practises, learn new skills through experts in their fields or embark on a entrepreneurial journey to Singapore’s innovation hotbeds. Even better, take a virtual journey to another country and get upclose with the locals there!
Virtual tours offer more than a great learning solution at a time where social distancing is a concern. They allow you to expand your learning opportunities while minimising logistical headaches!
Immersive Virtual Tours
Boring pre-recorded online tours are slowly losing their appeal. Next up comes a new wave of immersive virtual tours that combine live entertainment, food, games and more.
City Tasting Tours delivers Memphis’ top rated foods into your home that you can enjoy with the company of a virtual guide and stories from local restauranteurs. Award-winning Matthiasson Wines in Napa Valley conducts virtual tasting sessions via live zoom chat that includes a tasting pack of six wines and a virtual tour of their vineyard.
On Airbnb Online Experience, the hosts of 'no Spain no Game' introduces Barcelona with a fun mix of games including Scavenger Hunt, True/False and Trivia & Wacky challenges. If you prefer more action, Grande Rio samba school brings the fabulous world of Brazil’s ‘Rio Carnival’ to you through an exclusive backstage tour and also teaching you how to play Brazilian drums.
In Singapore, Monster Day Tours are also upping the ante on Virtual Experiences by incorporating a live host, live tour guide, bingo games and guest speakers. In its recent project to promote street art in Little India Singapore, they conducted livestreamed virtual tours to showcase the vibrant art scene. Together with a live tour guide, guests were taken on a fun art appreciation journey that includes bingo games and an intimate chat with local artists.
Virtual Campus Tour Recce
Most parents spare no effort to find the best college for their children. And in the midst of the pandemic travel bans, colleges worldwide are turning to virtual tours in a bid to lure the prospective students.
Similar to the important physical campus tour before applications, schools pulling out all stops to woo students virtually. Through a mixture of pre-recorded videos, livestreamed tours and 360-degree panoramic virtual views, you can check out their campus and the various facilities on-site. The academic classrooms, the library, science labs, the dining hall, dormitory rooms, the external gardens and more.
Some of the many renowned colleges that have followed the virtual tour footsteps are Fordham University, Harvard University, UCLA, UC Berkeley and Yale University.
Not only can prospective students suss out international schools abroad through virtual campus tours, they can also make use of livestreamed city tours to have a feel of the new environment. Maybe it is your first time living abroad and you are feeling uncertain. Go on one of the many virtual tours offered by the city’s locals to acquaint yourself with the new city that you are going to call home for the next few years.
For more useful travel tips and the latest happenings related to travel in Singapore, check out our fresh Monster Day Tours travel blog - Mega-zine! To book our tours using your SingapoRediscover vouchers , click here!