Virtual reality

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Virtual reality is a computer simulation that offers the user the opportunity to experience different kinds of pre produced programs, as if in real time (Williams & Hobson, 1995). It enables users to enjoy computer generated environments that offer three dimensional perspectives through the use of sound, sight, and touch technology. Using virtual reality, it is possible to simulate the physical environment of almost any tourism destinations or hospitality facility. Virtual reality enables people who have the equipment to experience artificial tourism products and services at low cost. It can also provide tourism experiences to those who are unable to travel because of physical disabilities or illnesses; lack of skills; or lack of sufficient time (Bennett, 1996). There are challenges to address in giving a feeling for the social and cultural aspects of a destination or of smelling and tasting. Regarding the impact of virtual reality on the future of the hospitality industry, some commentators argue that people will have no need to visit a hospitality facility because ‘virtual’ conditions can provide the perfect experience. Others suggest that the chance to test or practice an experience will generate higher demand to visit the real place.

References

Bennett, M. M. (1996). Information technology and databases for tourism. In A. V. Seaton and M. M. Bennett (Eds.), Marketing tourism products (pp. 421 443). Oxford: International Thomson Business Press.

Williams, P., & Hobson, J. S. P. (1995). Virtual reality and tourism: fact of fantasy? Tourism Management, 16(6), 423 427.  

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