One of the sectors most affected by the economic crisis of the pandemic will be tourism without a doubt. Hence, at this time, all kinds of initiatives arise to stimulate this sector or even reinvent it. One of them is virtual reality and the German medieval city of Herrenberg is going to apply it.
Located in southwestern Germany, near Stuttgart, Herrenberg was founded in the 13th century. Its architecture includes the traditional half-timbered buildings that surround the central square and a historic collegiate church in the Gothic style. It is a beautiful place of 30,000 inhabitants, which receives a respectable flow of tourists, although this is not its main economic activity.
The authorities, however, have decided to give tourism a boost through virtual reality. They have done so because they already had the essential tool: a digitized version of the city. This model had been carried out by the High-Performance Computing Center Stuttgart with a view to making municipal decisions.
When implementing certain measures, the City Council considered that it would be useful to have a digital model in which to advance these measures to simulate the evolution of the city and the reaction of its citizens. It is not exact, obviously, because it is impossible to impeccably predict how people will react. But it is one more tool for making informed decisions.
Now, this digital model will be used to stimulate tourism in Herrenberg. Authorities think they can offer visitors an excellent opportunity. These will be able to see the city, get acquainted with its streets, check the points of interest using virtual reality. In this way, when they arrive in the city they will already have part of the work done. In addition, visiting a place where you already have certain knowledge always enriches the experience.
VR in support of tourism
Authorities also believe that the digitization of the city can act as a showcase. There are not many cities that can boast of having a virtual replica. So if some users come across Herrenberg’s example in search of VR content, the digital model would act as a driving force for tourism.
Virtual reality applications in the tourism sector have been running for a long time. But this post-COVID-19 scenario seems ideal for trying more risky formulas. And it is that the trips will not be easy, so new formulas are imposed to keep alive the interest in tourist destinations and even awaken new curiosity in another type of public different from the usual one.