- Cure your wanderlust by digitally exploring the world with virtual tours of faraway landscapes and museums
- Tourism industry is hoping online previews will entice travellers to visit for real once Covid-19 restrictions lift
Deserted museums and empty city squares have made many world-famous tourist attractions virtually unrecognisable amid the coronavirus pandemic. Many people are stuck at home waiting for the day they can satisfy their wanderlust once more.
But that gives them plenty of time to plan and make the next trip really count.
To this end, there’s lots of inspiration on the internet, while many destinations are now offering online tours to whet your appetite. While the booming concept of virtual travel might trigger wanderlust for some, might it also go some way to assuaging it for others?
The Faroe Islands, 300 kilometres north of Scotland, have come up with a novel way to attract tourists: Direct a tour guide with a camera attached to their head across the spectacular Atlantic landscape and watch what they see live on your smartphone, tablet or computer.
It’s called remote tourism and people can book a tour via the islands’ tourism website. Tours take place at fixed times and users can take control of the guide for a minute at a time.
In South Africa meanwhile the hotel group Andbeyond is offering virtual safari drives on four different wildlife reserves. The guide streams footage of the animals directly on to YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.
Virtual visitors to Switzerland can hop from mountain peak to mountain peak and to various lookout points and enjoy a 360 degree view. Virtual trips around Lake Geneva are also available.
The medieval German village of Kronach is offering live tours of its half-timbered houses on Instagram.
Air travel is down as estimated 94 per cent due to the coronavirus pandemic, Photo: AFP
Lots of museums are also offering virtual tours through their exhibition rooms.
On the website of the north German city of Hanover you can explore 360-degree photos of local sights, allowing visitors to complete a tour of the old town and the Royal Gardens of Herrenhausen, the huge baroque gardens to the north of the city centre.
You can also “visit” the stunning region around the city, with the website offering 24 panoramic views including Lake Steinhude and the Deister hills.
Travel agencies are also trying to inspire potential customers. DER Touristik for example has made 360-degree videos from places like the French city of Nice, South Africa and Mexico available on its website. Countless other 360-degree photos and videos can be found of stunning places on the website 360cities.net.
And you can take a virtual tour of a cruise ship with Tui Cruises or Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. Tui also allows you to virtually visit the Magic Life and Tui Blue hotels and even to inspect the rooms.
Virtual reality technology has made many things possible - though foreign countries and continents may be thousands of miles away you can still explore them. Apps like Google Earth can provide impressive insights into cities and buildings.