Lorraine Worsley-Carter goes on a live virtual walking tour to discover the secrets of Barcelona
As an avid traveller and seeker of information near and far, I have always shied away from virtual city tours, and have preferred to investigate first hand and to research en route.
When I was invited by Virtual Travel Platform, GlobetrotterVR to experience a virtual travel city tour, on behalf of Quayslife, from the comfort of my own desk, I was intrigued. I did not expect to learn very much from the guide, as the destination was Barcelona, a city I have visited many times. A further ‘put off’ for me, as a technophobe, had been the worry of how I would actually view the tour. I was exceedingly glad to be assured that I didn’t require any special hardware in order to join the tour.
I am always prepared not only to be amazed but to be proven wrong! Following the experience of having a professional guide walk me around one of my favourite cities, I have learned so much and cannot wait to return to Barcelona. I yearn to stand where I have seen my guide stand when she was telling us about Gaudi’s last days of his life, the revolving door where children of the poor were placed at night, the Vampire of Rabal, the fact we walk upon the work of artist Joan Miró every time we walk down La Ramblas… I could go on!
Perhaps I should not have been too surprised that the virtual tour, is definitely the way forward for future travellers.
In this pivotal moment in history, we are asked to redefine the future of the tourism industry due to travel restrictions around the world. Technology is taking a leading role when it comes to exploring top tourism destinations and satisfying our natural curiosity to discover the world.
I also learned that the first virtual tour hosting platform of its kind, Globetrotter VR offers the opportunity for everyone from every part of the world, to enjoy a city tour from the comfort of their own home or office and from any type of device
My fellow travellers on the tour were from various parts of the UK and Europe, and as far as the USA. We were all united in the wonder of the experience, certainly made extra special by our expert local tour guide, Catalonian, Jordana. Some of us, like me, viewed on our laptops, some of us viewed on mobile phones and some I believe on virtual headsets.
The platform does not only offer on-demand experiences that you can watch at your convenience, but also live virtual walking tours, led by top professional tour guides, like Jordana. The guides are all experts in their cities and territories.
Our tour, like all the tours on offer, was fully interactive and included 3D models, archival photos and videos which made the tour unique in the current market and afforded me the opportunity to ask lots of questions! Well, there is always one isn’t there?! I loved that each of us were invited to choose a place to visit from the golden balloons perched across the city. I chose Plaça del Rei, and we were immediately transported there, where we could see Jordana standing waiting to tell us all about it, with the added bonus of Jordana live on screen from her desk (how clever is that!) ready to answer any questions.
I imagine that these tours would make a perfect gift to friends and family, or for a company to host a great online team building event, but not everyone wants to share their tour with others and there is also the opportunity to book private live tours.
Anastasia Pash, the Founder of Globetrotter VR said: “We aren’t trying to replicate physical walking tours, we are creating online travel experiences in their own right.”
A spokesperson for GlobetrotterVR added: “As a company with an ethical and sustainable mindset, Globetrotter VR aims to create virtual tours that make exploring the world enjoyable, accessible, affordable and secure. The team is committed to protecting the natural world for future generations by ensuring the smallest amount of environmental impact in its production, while partnering up with local talents and organizations, to ensure that the tours provide economic benefit to the local communities in the destinations.”
My travel writing is usually based upon sharing my experiences on the beauty, culture, people and secrets of a destination so it is an anathema to me not to do so after my immersive city tour of Barcelona, the Capital of Catalonia, but on this occasion that is not my job, that role belongs to GlobetrotterVR.
I am now a convert to immersive travel, and after Barcelona, I am now looking forward to joining a tour of Paris, Edinburgh, Milan and Dubai, all of these cities I have visited many times, but now I know I have missed a huge number of their secrets!
To find out more or to book a tour visit globetrotter-vr.com