Metaverse + Tourism: 3 Typical Cases and 4 Development Paths

Beginning in 2020, the new crown epidemic has swept the world, causing a serious impact on the economy in various fields around the world, especially for offline economies such as tourism. Although the global tourism economy is gradually showing a recovery trend, the degree and progress of the current recovery are still relatively slow. According to the “World Tourism Economic Trend Report (2022)” jointly released by the World Tourism Cities Federation and the Tourism Research Center of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the total number of global tourism arrivals in 2021 will reach 6.6 billion, and the total global tourism revenue will reach 3.3 trillion US dollars, respectively recovering . From 53.7% and 55.9% in 2019, these two indicators are expected to recover to 68.8% and 67.8% of their pre-pandemic levels, respectively, in 2022.

The report also pointed out that the structural recovery of the global tourism economy has shown trend changes, including the increase in industrial concentration and the importance of sustainable tourism. Therefore, formulating diversified strategies and seeking new economic growth points through technological change have become important tasks to reshape the tourism landscape and restore the tourism economy.

In 2021, the concept of the Metaverse will sweep the world, and many giant companies such as Meta, Microsoft, Tencent and Baidu have incorporated the Metaverse into their corporate development strategies. Under the tide, the possibility of combining the Metaverse with various industries has also been explored. When the Metaverse encounters the tourism industry that is in vain, can it empower the transformation and recovery of the tourism industry?

This article will start from the actual case of the combination of the Metaverse and tourism, and explore the combination path of the Metaverse and tourism. At the same time, 01 Think Tank, 01 Blockchain, “Lujiazui” magazine, and Hengqin Digital Finance Research Institute will jointly launch the “Metaverse Scenario Application Exploration Report”. The report is currently being collected for cases, and all kinds of exploration enterprises are welcome to actively participate. .

1. Metaverse + Tourism Case Analysis

Case 1: “Korea Tourism Universe Platform”

Background: On November 12, 2021, the South Korean government held the 6th National Tourism Strategy Conference to finalize the “Tourism Industry Recovery and Leap Forward Plan”. According to the plan, the government will promote a “dual-track” system of virtual tourism such as Metaverse and smart tourism for actual visitors, covering the development of tourism products that combine global popular cultural and creative content such as BTS, and the development of digital attractions, as well as the construction of integrated Korean “Korea Tourism Universe Platform” for major attractions, popular film and television drama locations, etc. Among them, the Incheon Open Port in South Korea is the first selected area to create a smart tourism city. It is currently developing a smart tourism city by building a smart ecosystem and environment.

  • AR Incheon (Augmented Reality Incheon)

The AR service designed by Incheon provides one-way interactive content through smartphones. For example, the scenic spot provides AR navigation services and AR maps, so that tourists can “travel” back to important historical moments of the scenic spot according to the guidance of historical figures, and enjoy the local customs at that time. In addition, the scenic spot also launched the “Operation Incheon” (“Incheon Action” game), which proposes game tasks to tourists to increase the attraction of tourism by rewarding participation.

Incheon has also formulated the “VR/AR Industry Medium and Long-Term Development Strategy” to promote and develop the local content industry, and launched the “Incheon VR/AR Production Support Center”. It is reported that the center supports content development, provides free AR and VR equipment, cultivates professional talents, and incubates companies with proven content through industry-university-research cooperation.

Metaverse + Tourism: 3 Typical Cases and 4 Development Paths

  • ‘Incheoncraft’ (Incheon version of Minecraft)

Minecraft is a sandbox game where players can freely explore virtual worlds in the form of “avatars”. On this basis, Incheon developed “Incheoncraft”, which provides opportunities for tourists who cannot visit in person and creates an unrestricted way of traveling. The game’s landscape is based on Incheon’s exterior, allowing users to explore, socialize and create with new characters. In IncheonCraft, users can experience historical events through historical characters and learn the history and culture of Incheon in the game.

Metaverse + Tourism: 3 Typical Cases and 4 Development Paths

Case 2: Disney’s Metaverse Strategy

Background: On November 16, 2021, Disney CEO Bob Chapek hinted in a conversation that the Metaverse will be Disney’s future. He said Disneyland plus the Disney+ digital platform gives the company an unrivaled ability to build a Metaverse, “a three-dimensional canvas that promises to integrate the physical and digital worlds in a cohesive, untethered way that will Earth frees creative minds. I believe the Metaverse is where the next generation is headed.”

  • Immersive Paradise

Tilak Mandadi, Executive Vice President, Digital and Global CEO, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products (DPEP) said: “The way our parks tell stories has been evolving: from classic, linear stories, to interactive stories, to immersive stories. storytelling. Now, the way we tell stories is becoming more personal and social.”

Disney revealed that augmented reality technology will be a key element of its strategy. It all starts with a connected paradise. Technologies such as computer vision, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things enable seamless integration of the physical environment with the digital world and redefine the experience of the park.

Frozen, A Musical Spectacular, Disney Cruise Line’s original stage production, combines traditional theater techniques with state-of-the-art, motion-tracked video graphics and large moving sets to create Arendelle’s iconic Frozen World, which immerses visitors in the world of Frozen.

Metaverse + Tourism: 3 Typical Cases and 4 Development Paths

 Immersion is not only about the authenticity of the present senses, but also interactivity is an important part. Mandadi summed up the role of the “Metaverse” in enhancing storytelling beyond Disneyland: “The Metaverse allows people to play established roles, or even be themselves, creating roles for themselves throughout the story. Adding new characters to the story. This is the key to personalizing the Metaverse.”

Play Disney Parks is a prominent reverse augmented reality game from Disney. Visitors to the park need to complete tasks with family members or friends around them. According to the settings of the Bluetooth beacon, use the mobile phone camera to activate hidden AR elements around them, such as waiting in line. When riding in a spaceship, rockets can be seen flying overhead, etc.

  • IP NFTization

Citi analyst Thomas Singlehurst wrote in a report titled “Disruptive Innovation” that the emergence of NFTs will likely cause significant disruption to all industries involving IP, licensing and commodity-related revenue, with NFT decentralization and democratization key among them. The model allows content owners to weaken the role of traditional intermediaries in tokenizing IP. In addition, the report noted that companies including Disney and video game publisher Electronic Arts are expected to benefit from NFTs.

With its rich IP resources and the company’s nearly billions of fans, Disney has a clear advantage in selling NFTs as collectibles. Relying on the collectibles trading platform Veve, Disney has released a series of NFTs such as Star Wars, The Simpsons, and Mickey Mouse. At present, most of the NFTs have been sold out and have been hyped in the secondary market. For example, the price of “The Simpsons” NFT issued at $60 was sold for $150 in the secondary market.

Metaverse + Tourism: 3 Typical Cases and 4 Development Paths

Case 3: “Datang Kaiyuan”

Background: In China, the Metaverse is also used in tourism exploration. On November 18, 2021, the Zhangjiajie Metaverse Research Center was established, becoming the first scenic spot in the country to set up a Metaverse Research Center.According to relevant sources, Zhangjiajie Metaverse Research Center mainly studies and explores the integrated development of tourism and the Metaverse, drives “application innovation” and “industrial innovation” with “technical innovation”, and cultivates new product forms, production methods and consumption in the tourism industry. model.

Earlier, during the National Day, Xi’an Digital Lightyear Software Co., Ltd. and Datang Evernight City jointly announced that the world’s first Metaverse project based on the historical and cultural background of the Tang Dynasty – “Datang Kaiyuan” was officially launched. Datang Never Sleeping City is located in Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi’an City, Shaanxi Province. It is one of the three major pedestrian streets in the country. The daily traffic reaches 200,000 people, and the annual traffic reaches nearly 100 million people. It has incubated many Internet celebrity IPs, and has short videos on Douyin. The platform has a very high spread. At present, the Metaverse project has initially landed and provides a Metaverse space for tourists to explore.

  • construction sand table

“Chang’an looks back to the embroidery piles, and the top of the mountain opens one after another.” In order to restore the historical features of Chang’an City, Digital Lightyear cooperated with the well-known digital ancient construction teams in China, “Mingcheng Jingtai School” and “History Museum”, through the Digital technology is used to build and create content in the Metaverse. Digital Lightyear will build the sand table of Tang Chang’an City one-to-one according to the real proportion. Early experience users can visit the construction process of the main building of Tang Chang’an City, and even participate in its future planning and construction.

Starting with the virtual construction of Datang City that never sleeps, the Datang Metaverse will gradually improve public facilities, economic systems, and gameplay modules. Soon, users will be able to log in to the Metaverse through the port, appreciate the scenery of the Tang Dynasty, invite and interact with friends, and purchase items, etc., and travel in the Tang Dynasty City that never sleeps immersively through the “mirror virtual world”.

Metaverse + Tourism: 3 Typical Cases and 4 Development Paths

  • Digital collections help business monetization

The “Datang Kaiyuan” project relies on profound historical and cultural heritage and has unique IP value. Digital Lightyear is also building a bridge between exploring innovative IP derivatives and the Metaverse. In November 2021, the AntChain Treasure Project launched Xi’an’s first digital collection of 3D architectural models, “Datang Kaiyuan Bell Tower”, “Datang Kaiyuan Small Wild Goose Pagoda”, and the “Datang Kaiyuan” series of digital collections in 3D. The form restores the form and details of ancient buildings to the maximum extent, and expounds the profound history and artistry behind the ancient buildings. It is reported that a total of 10,000 copies of this series of digital collections were issued, and they were “sold out in seconds” after going online.

Metaverse + Tourism: 3 Typical Cases and 4 Development Paths

2. A Preliminary Exploration on the Path of Metaverse + Tourism

At present, the concept of the Metaverse has not yet been defined, the underlying technology involving the Metaverse has yet to mature, and the combination model of the Metaverse and tourism has just begun to be explored. The above case shows the possibility of the Metaverse empowering tourism. The following will sort out several possibilities for the combination of the Metaverse and tourism.

1. Augmented reality creates digital attractions

The “seeing is believing” tourist experience is single and limited, and the “seeing the flowers” tourism makes the history, culture and various wonderful stories behind the scenic spots missed. The concept of “combination of virtual and real” in the Metaverse can help scenic spots to be “reborn”. With the help of augmented reality technologies such as VR/AR, mobile electronic devices, etc., the explorability of physical scenic spots will be greatly improved.

Here’s a visual example of how the Natural History Museum has transformed the fossil exhibit through an AR app.Through the app, visitors can place their phones over the fossils and see the animals “resurrect in situ”, with the fossil-related backgrounds brought to life. Similar technologies will be applied to scenic exhibitions, imagining the ancient buildings in front of you rising up in front of you, or the historical figures in front of you “living” and interacting with you enthusiastically.

Metaverse + Tourism: 3 Typical Cases and 4 Development Paths

Metaverse + Tourism: 3 Typical Cases and 4 Development Paths

2. NFT helps to tap the IP value of scenic spots

Tourist attractions have unique value due to their unique history, architecture or culture, and NFTs or digital collections can rediscover and inspire such value. In the above cases, Disney and “Datang Kaiyuan” projects have also succeeded in seeking commercial value in the form of NFT or digital collections by mining their own content value.

In addition, NFTs are gradually being recognized as a form of collection. According to a report released by blockchain analysis company DappRadar in October 2021, the transactions of NFTs climbed to $10.7 billion in the third quarter, an increase of 700% from the previous quarter. above. In the early days of the combination of tourism and the Metaverse, the issuance of NFT or digital collections through the unique content value behind the attractions may be an important way for the tourism industry to realize commercialization.

3. The scenic spot has become the real carrier of “chain tour”

Game creation is closely related to related entertainment industries such as film and television, history, and scenic spots. The wonderful story background and scene construction directly affect the player’s experience. Similarly, virtual games can also come into reality and help the development of tourism. Linking the fun and explorability of the game with the tourist landscape may become another important way to meta-cosmosize the scenic spot.

Imagine that the theme scene of the scenic spot is organically combined with the virtual identity gameplay of the blockchain game. Visitors to the scenic spot can carry out adventure activities in the scenic spot through mobile terminal devices, share the game experience with the outside world at any time, or “cash out” the game’s rewards. In this mode, online and offline become an organic whole, and this spatial form is very close to the Metaverse vision.

Metaverse + Tourism: 3 Typical Cases and 4 Development Paths

4. “Parallel World” Travel Experience

The outbreak of the new crown epidemic has made it difficult to carry out offline activities, which has brought a huge impact on the tourism industry. In this case, the idea of ​​creating a “parallel universe” based on the landscape and connotation of the scenic spot came into being. By scanning the attraction space and uploading the scan results to the cloud platform, the cloud algorithm can process the real-world data into an immersive and explorable space.

Metaverse + Tourism: 3 Typical Cases and 4 Development Paths

There is no need to consider factors such as weather, venue, traffic, etc., avoiding crowded people and long-distance fatigue, not to mention worrying about the spread of the new crown epidemic. Just log in to the port, and everyone can immersely explore various attractions without leaving home. In addition, based on the virtual space, the Metaverse has huge development potential, scenarios such as consumption, social interaction and games can be developed, and more surreal scenarios are also waiting to be explored.

3. Recommendations for the metacosmization of tourism

The Metaverse has shown potential in empowering tourism, but the Metaverse is not a “shortcut” to revive and develop tourism. On the contrary, the Metaverse will put forward higher requirements for landscape construction and content production in the tourism industry, and it will also need to increase investment on the technical level.

  • Unique landscape, history and culture are the core competitiveness of scenic spots. Whether in traditional tourism or Metaverse tourism, basic work such as landscape restoration and creation of cultural connotations are the core of developing tourism.
  • The path of creating a characteristic digital cultural tourism IP and distributing digital collections requires enriching the content ecology and mining cultural connotations. The forms and channels of digital collections also need to be developed and explored.
  • Combining the Metaverse to develop tourism needs to increase the investment in the underlying support structure, such as building a smart cloud platform, developing augmented reality technologies such as VR/AR, holographic immersive technologies, and building mirrored scenic spots.
  • Promoting the combination of tourism and industry according to local conditions. According to the resources of the scenic spot, actively seek to integrate with various industries such as retail, education, and games, and improve the commercial realization ability of the tourism industry in multiple directions.

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