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The rise of virtual tours: Travel during COVID-19

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Do you check Google Maps on your phone constantly before you head to an unknown location? Yep, we all do. In fact, some of us even scroll through the maps up and down for minutes before the day has even started. It is completely understandable. This simply means that we do not want to feel lost. 

The concept of this technology, however, has made a decent progression. Rather than just locating a place, people have started touring virtually. Before, you could only identify buildings or streets through symbols. Now, you can see real-life images/videos. Imagine walking beside buildings while strolling through the city on the screen of your phone or computer. That’s called a virtual tours. 

One good example of a virtual tour application is Google Street View. The 360-degree tour provided by the app allows you a real-life touring experience. You get to see every detail of the location. Front, back, or side, you can swipe on your screen to any angle and still be able to view the location. Isn’t that amazing? Well, for the most part, it is quite amazing. However, there are some drawbacks to this particular technique of virtual tour. It requires high tech cameras and editing skills. 

chandragiri virtual view
Image: Google Street View of Chandragiri, Nepal

While the Google Street View can be handy on cities and developed countries, it can be difficult to film panoramic images on an isolated hill 5,000m above the sea level. This is where video-based sites such as YouTube, and Vimeo comes in. 

Take a look at this mesmerizing experience of Annapurna Base Camp Trek documented by Sisan Baniya, a well-known video creator from Nepal.

Related: Annapurna Base Camp Trek (Tour Package) in Nepal by CoreTreks

Videos can be a great tool for storytelling and virtual tours. One can film his whole journey to some of the top trekking destinations in Nepal and upload it on YouTube. Such tours will provide travel enthusiasts from all over the world an incredible opportunity to learn about different places without having to physically travel there. Many creators have already started showcasing tourist destinations in Nepal through virtual tours. 

StoryCycle, an organization founded by Saurav Dhakal has already embarked on its journey to provide Virtual Heritage Tours in Nepal. The nation-wide lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 triggered the idea of virtual tours to their organization.

An article published on The Kathmandu Post wrote, “The idea behind Virtual Heritage Tour is to give people who are staying indoors during the lockdown the opportunity to take part in socially, historically and culturally immersive virtual tours.”

The rise of virtual tours seems promising. There are hundreds and thousands of videographers who have created virtual tours. However, a large number of attractive locations in Nepal remain unfilmed. As more creators get exposed to the idea, hopefully, we will get embrace different travel and tourism destinations in Nepal through our digital screens.

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