In the hope of attracting new visitors to its rich and fertile land, South Africa’s board of tourism is using the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, showcasing some of the country’s most famous landmarks through the magic of VR. During the “five minute holiday,” users are shown abseiling down Table Mountain, kite surfing, para-gliding, feeding young elephants and shark diving off the coast of Cape Town.
Unfortunately this isn’t one that owners of the DK2 developmental headset can download and view themselves. In order to be in with chance of trying out the experience, you’ll need to head to one of several bars in London and/or Manchester over the next few weeks. The first bar-crashing will be Corbet Place, Brick Lane in London on the 24th April. After that NoHo in Manchester will be the one showcasing the little virtual trip.
If it goes well however, the South African Tourism board may expand its program to try and entice more people to head to the African nation for a holiday – though not everyone may be up for the shark diving.
Presumably it will look a bit like this, only in 360 degrees:
South African Tourism’s UK marketing and communications manager Juan Herrada said of the scheme (via Travolution): “We want to surprise the UK travelling public and Oculus Rift is the ideal partner for us to reach a young, tech-savvy market.
“This is the first time Oculus Rift and binaural sound have been combined to create a unique, immersive holiday experience for the UK public.”
Although exciting, this is just one of many schemes that SAT has planned over the next year, with other exciting plans set to come into play later this year. More details about the ongoing Oculus Rift trial can be found on the organisation’s official Facebook and Twitter pages.
Although this group might be the first to go down this route, I doubt it will be the last. Expect lots of countries and resorts to begin offering VR experiences as time goes on, with the hopes of bringing people to their particular nation or resort.