A virtual tour is a simulated recreation of an actual location, typically comprised of a series of still or video images. It can also include other multimedia features like sound effects, music, voiceover, narration and text. It differs from the traditional use of real-time television to affect live tele-tourism in that it is interactive. In essence it is nothing more than an image of a place that has been preloaded into a computer screen or other electronic device, allowing viewers to interact with the scenery on screen in a more real way.
In most instances, these tours are very similar to those you would find at a conventional traveling show such as a museum, a cruise, a theme park or a traditional television event. The most obvious difference is that instead of being controlled by a live person, they are run directly by a computer, often using the Internet to provide a real time experience.
While there are some drawbacks associated with online virtual tours, such as limited accessibility and being restricted to a particular area, they do offer some important advantages. For instance, because they can be played and replayed from any internet browser, they are very versatile – a user can literally take a virtual tour of virtually any place they choose, from a large city to a small town or village.
One of the most typical uses of virtual tours is for travel, whether it is for personal or business use. You can use a virtual tour to give yourself a better idea of the area or city in which you will be traveling to, or you can use it to check if the hotel in the area you are planning to stay in is in compliance with local or state laws.
As a rule, most people view the experience as realistic enough to be used for just about anything, including making their vacation as interesting as possible in the real world. When taking a virtual tour, a traveler can see and experience everything about a given location before actually going there – including the restaurants, shops, hotels, parks, etc., that are located within the vicinity of the planned itinerary. This allows a tourist to see the places that will most likely be familiar to them on their journey.
Virtual tours can be especially useful for parents, who can use them to prepare their children for upcoming trips without having to go to the expense of hiring a real travel agency. They can use this software to play out the trip in their own homes, letting their children explore and discover the area around them in their own pace.