Virtual reality users will soon be able to get "a lifelike" experience of what Indigenous tourism in Ontario has to offer.
ORIGIN has partnered with Indigenous Tourism Ontario (ITO) to support Indigenous businesses and create VR tours as travel restrictions have been put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our technology will help users understand exactly what they can expect from a tourism experience,” said ORIGIN's owner Melissa Hardy-Giles. “We’re proud to highlight, capture and preserve Indigenous knowledge and tourism, and promote them. First, to all Ontarians, Canadians and then other countries as restrictions lift.”
With Oculus headsets and an ImmersiveLink Cultural App, users will be immersed in 360-degree virtual reality tours. Hardy-Giles said the company, which is Indigenous owned, has its own film crew that will be travelling to different Indigenous tourism sites and facilities to create the modules.
“Using our ImmersiveLink system, we will be creating brief virtual reality tours,” she said. “Mass tourism operation is struggling since the pandemic and may never be the same, unfortunately, such as Disney theme parks. However, this is now giving micro-tourism and small operations an opportunity.”
Hardy-Giles said the details of the project are still in the works but the hope is to have VR tours available "later on this year."
"Congratulations to ITO and ORIGIN on this partnership that will deliver innovative solutions for Indigenous tourism and hospitality operators who have been hit-hard by the COVID-19 pandemic," Minister of Indigenous Affairs Greg Rickford said in a news release. "This use of technology will promote Indigenous tourism and create opportunities and economic growth for Indigenous businesses as our economy restarts and recovers."