INTRODUCING THE VR VOYAGE
Virtual reality is the buzzword that has been bouncing around many industries during the Coronavirus pandemic that has gripped the world in 2020. As a group of travellers, that meant that our normal work schedule of choosing a new city each month and working remotely from each wasn’t an option any longer. Because of this and the onslaught of news articles highlighting how hard the tourism and museum industries, we decided there needed to be something we could create to keep people exploring and help find new support systems for harder hit industries.
Introducing The VR Voyage!
TRAVELLERS STUCK INSIDE
As more and more people went into lockdown or had restrictions on movement placed upon them, there was a desire to find new ways of exploring and keeping ourselves busy during the quiet days of isolation. But beyond that, there are places around the world that are hard to get to regardless of a global health crisis. By creating virtual experiences for The VR Voyage’s audience to take part in, we can open up new destinations and new windows into history to allow anyone, no matter where their living rooms may be, to sit back and start exploring.
Our platform isn’t something completely new. It is a mixture of different elements that have blended perfectly together in order for us to create our unique virtual experiences. Guided tours with local experts that narrate the world around you as you explore, interactive elements that offer more in-depth knowledge for the more curious out there, and a suite of other elements that allow anyone to immerse themselves in the subject of each virtual tour they take.
LOCKDOWNS FOR MUSEUMS & TOUR OPERATORS
As an anthropologist, it was especially important to The VR Voyage’s founder and Program Director, Bryce Mathew Watts, to partner with museums, cultural centres, heritage sites and academics to further their community education missions and provide new revenue streams that could support them through this crisis and beyond. By curating uniquely focussed virtual tours of collections that aren’t restrained by geographic location, each partner is able to showcase their speciality in a novel way that can take the visitor from looking at an item in a display case and immediately transporting them to the site where it was excavated. Virtual reality doesn’t need to move in a linear fashion and can bounce around the world in order to tell a very specific story.
The same can be said for tour operators. Naturally, as a group of travellers, The VR Voyage team has met quite a few tour guides and tour company operators on our travels. Just like our museum colleagues, these tourism workers were struggling too. With nowhere near the number of travellers moving around the world, tour companies and independent guides were struggling.
By partnering with The VR Voyage, however, there is the ability to record a virtual tour with our team and create an interactive experience that allows them to help as many people explore their city as possible, much more than they could with an in-person tour.
DEVELOPING TOURS WITH LOCAL EXPERTS
The success of in-person tours is the insider knowledge that the tour guide brings to each tour. With The VR Voyage, the same occurs. Our partners are experts in their fields. They are artists, historians, anthropologists, archaeologists, museum curators, Indigenous elders, conservationists and more. By having an expert narrate each tour, we are giving our audience insights they wouldn’t get from other 360º experiences that offer only pretty visuals to look at. Without knowing what you are looking at, you will never get the full story.
GOING BEYOND PUBLIC SPACES
One of the exciting things about The VR Voyage is that a 360º camera is compact and can go to places where the average person cannot. In many of our tours we are busy producing, we find ways to give a perspective that an in-person tour couldn’t. Standing on a riverbank to see a salmon run? Take the next step and dive under the waves to swim amongst the fish and see them up close. Enjoying the natural vistas on a glacier? Descend the frozen walls of a crevasse to see the depths of this river of ice.
Not just physically inaccessible places are opened up on this type of tour. By working with our partners, we are able to get behind the scenes and into areas closed off to the general public. Explore the conservation laboratory of a museum with the museum’s curator telling you what you are seeing, or be granted access to parts of an archaeological site that are closed off to anyone except the excavation team. It is important to us to create something unique that will inspire exploration in and out of the home.
A NEW ADVENTURE AWAITS
The VR Voyage will continue to partner with individuals and organisations from around the world to open up new destinations to our audience. And once restrictions are lifted, we will continue to create experiences to provide access to the furthest corners of the globe and to act as inspiration for people to pack their bags and set off on new adventures whenever they can.