Where VR tourism is heading next

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Where VR tourism is heading next
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While the travel industry makes up its mind on whether VR will market holidays or replace them - most lean optimistically towards the former - we're starting to get an idea of what VR tourism might look like. Try before you buy 360-degree photos and videos of exotic destinations are already on Cardboard and Gear VR. And yes, kicking back and transporting yourself to the mountains or the sea is enough to give you that rush you'd get from the real thing. But what comes next?

Virtual tickets

More ambitious than simply taking us to places the other side of the globe in VR is taking us to events, live. Georama is the real time VR platform which allowed car fans to visit the Goodguys Rod and Custom Association auto show in Plesanton, California last month. There was a guided tour and interactions with the host including Q and As and suggestions to control the experience.

The tech is being used for educational trips, destination marketing and field training. And it's an experience that Mativision, which livestreamed an operation in 360, is also trying to perfect.

4D Teleporters

Marriott's Travel Brilliantly Teleporter, created by Relevent last year, is a sign of VR effects to come. It was a "4D" experience that helps to enhance the audio and visual virtual reality experience of being somewhere new with things like a 'sea spray' and shaking ground.

A stunt, for sure, but it's not hard to imagine venues like The Void and StarVR adding VR travel to their roster of fully immersive experiences, alongside games and movie tie-ins.

Up to date Expeditions

Google was very much focused on Daydream at I/O but it hasn't forgotten about its Expeditions program for Cardboard.

Over one million schoolchildren have taken VR trips so far and Google announced new partnerships with Associated Press and Getty Images to include VR images and footage of current events within the experience. The idea is to make trips to Buckingham Palace or the Burj Khalifa as up to date and informative as possible.

Space explorers

Virtual space tourism looks much closer, and more affordable, than the regular astronaut kind. Now, you can view 360-degree Curiosity Rover pics on cheap headsets and view NASA's videos on Facebook.

Read this: How VR and AR could turn you into a bonafide space explorer

More exciting is the Mars 2030 experience for Cardboard, Gear VR, Vive and Oculus - the first person part-game, part educational app sees you travel through landscapes created from Rover data. The creators say it's the size of Skyim (i.e. very, very big) and it's due out, for free, in the autumn.