The Future Is Here, Almost: Virtual Travel Becomes More of a Reality

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The impact virtual and augmented reality software has had on the travel industry is small but growing. Here are a few examples you may encounter before or during your next trip. As virtual and augmented reality apps continues to develop, it’s becoming more likely that travelers will interact with these technologies, whether before or after their trips.

“We’re seeing lots of people play with different forms of what I call ‘content excitement,’” said Mike Croucher, the chief architect at the technology company Travelport. Examples of that are the websites of hotels with 360-degree “look-arounds” of their properties, he said, and airlines are experimenting more with digitally immersive experiences as well.

The global virtual-reality market is expected to increase from $7.9 billion last year to $44.7 billion by 2024, according to a recent research report published by Markets and Markets. While these technologies have existed for several years, factors like high cost of production and limited consumer access have capped its reach in the travel industry, Mr. Croucher said.

“It’s still early days. But you could see the impact it’s going to have,” he said. Several airlines, restaurants and travel companies have in recent years released easy-to-use virtual features that are beginning to change how people plan for travel and experience destinations. Here are a few that you may encounter the next time you travel or plan to do so.

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