Virtually Visiting offers world first four-day virtual holiday to Arctic Sweden

Virtual travel company Virtually Visiting is offering the world’s first four-day virtual ‘holiday’ through Arctic Sweden, according to reports online.

Starting this Saturday, April 18, each day of the ‘trip’ will offer new experiences taking guests on a wintery tour of Swedish Lapland. The holiday is free of charge.

Virtual holidays and virtual travel has provided an alternative after most countries grounded passenger flights and imposed travel restrictions looking to mitigate the health risks due to COVID-19 outbreak. The Arctic Sweden tour provides guests an opportunity to join local expert guides on some of the regions iconic Arctic experiences as well as visit the world famous ICEHOTEL and Treehotel. To join the adventure, visit https://virtuallyvisiting.com/360-journeys/

Jonny Cooper, founder of Virtually Visiting, said: ‘We wanted to put you right in the action, allowing you to experience tours as though you were there. This is about keeping the travel experience real; we meet some of the best local guides who walk us through local life to give guests the real-life experience – from their own homes.’

On the first day, guests will arrive 144km north of the Arctic Circle to the famous ICEHOTEL in Kiruna. ICEHOTEL guide Matilda will give guests a personal tour around the hotel and into four of the intricately carved ice rooms.

On Sunday, April 19, guests will head 250km south to Lassbyn to meet local guide and founder of the Aurora Safari Camp, Fredrik Broman who will take guests on a snowmobile adventure through the Swedish wilderness. On Monday, April 20, guests will meet the founder of the luxury Treehotel, Kent Lindvall who will take visitors on a tour of seven tree-top hotel rooms. On the last day, Tuesday April 21, guests will join Erik Hordijk from Yellow Snow Husky Tours in Kroktask to learn about harnessing huskies for the journey across the frozen landscape and set off on a dog-sled adventure.

‘As well as our new virtual holiday, we’re also working hard in the background to add further capabilities allowing us to run live VR tours in the future, adding even more real time interaction with guides,’ Cooper added.

New technology to transform holiday bookings

Holidays and holiday booking process will be fully transformed by the use of immersive virtual and augmented reality technologies, according to a report by Expedia.

In its latest The Holiday of the Future report, Expedia looks at how technology could shape how travellers plan, enjoy and return from holiday in the future. From holiday packages that are designed around social media activity to a virtual concierge, the report states that customers will increasingly be able to ‘try before they buy’.

According to the report, with the availability of high-end devices such as Oculus Rift, along with more affordable setups, immersive experiences could potentially be used to captivate prospective travellers.

Rachael Power from Virtual Reality News, who contributed to the research, said: ‘Virtual reality has the potential to radically change travel. People can ‘try before they buy’ by visiting locations in VR, from the UAE to the Irish Wild Atlantic Way.

‘It also shakes things up for those who are immobile or on smaller budgets; the view from Machu Picchu is now simply the cost of a Google Cardboard headset away.’

A recent traveller report created by Expedia found that 42 percent of Millennials in the UK agree that holiday photos posted by social media contacts influence their choice of destination. The report also explains that 60 percent of the same audience describe experiencing the authentic culture of a country as the most important factor in travelling. The commercial use of VR in the future would allow travellers to have a deeper understanding of what a destination ‘feels’ like, before committing to booking a flight.

Expedia also envisages that in future content shared on social media will evolve from the standard snapshot into rich-media experiences. ‘Virtual reality and 360 degree film technology will begin to reach the masses once brands invest in content for this medium,’ the report said.