It’s no surprise that the coronavirus pandemic left a lasting scar on the tourism sector, with most establishments having to close their doors to visitors until things get better. However, Google is lending a helping hand by offering virtual tours of UNESCO World Heritage sites.
Exploring the World From Home With Google
Google announced this feature over on its official news website, The Keyword. The company recognizes that the coronavirus lockdown, while essential, has left a lot of important and beautiful places out-of-pocket.
As the company states, the pandemic has caused a huge amount of damage to the tourism industry:
Cultural tourism, which accounts for 40% of the entire tourism market, is hurting, with the number of international tourists dropping by 75% in 2020 compared to 2019. Following the closure of concert halls, theatres, bookstores and cinemas, the royalties collected by creators may have dropped by as much as 35% in 2020 — a €3.5 billion loss globally. Museums have been particularly affected by the pandemic, as 90% have closed their doors during the crisis and, according to the International Council of Museums (ICOM), more than 10% may never reopen.
Certainly, it’s a dire situation; that’s why Google is working together with UNESCO to bring the internet a free tour of its World Heritage sites.
The tours themselves vary from place to place. For some, you’re dropped into a Google Street view near the site, allowing you to walk around and see the sights. Other places are represented by slideshows which tell you more about the place.
The tours are fun and informative, but they don’t hold a candle to the real deal. Google itself admits that “this virtual exploration will never replace the unique experience of seeing these places for real and visiting World Heritage sites.”
However, Google also states that “we shall travel again” and hints that these virtual tours are more of an appetizer for greater things once the borders reopen and we can once again venture outside out of our countries.
If you feel like exploring the world from your living room, be sure to check out the Google Arts & Culture page for UNESCO and check out the tours you can take.
Going Farther Without Moving
If being locked indoors makes you crave a holiday, why not take a virtual tour and see if it scratches an itch?
If you’re not so fond of checking out other countries, there are virtual tours of museums too. They’re a great way to take in the world’s history while staying safe indoors.
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