Tui, Europe’s largest travel group, is carrying out tests next generation augmented reality travel experiences.
The tests are being conducted by the firm’s destination experiences division which focuses on activities, excursions and round trips, and is based in Palma de Mallorca.
Tui said that while city guides still dominate tourist excursions today, stereoscopic augmented reality glasses equipped with 3-D technology, could come to dominate tourist excursions in the future.
The glasses allow travellers to explore places individually without missing out on any inside knowledge. Information, photographs, videos and 3-D models are displayed in front of what they are looking at through the glasses.
In the tests that Tui Destination Experiences are currently conducting, users can, for instance, learn more about the artist of the painting they are looking at. They are then given a taste of the Middle Ages, seeing the famous dragon that is said to have terrorised the city in the past.
The trial phase, which will last several weeks over the winter period, is intended to provide Tui Destination Experiences with insights into how the technology can add value to customers’ experiences.
The next step is product development, so that holidaymakers can experience it for themselves.
Chris Carmichael, head of innovation at Tui Destination Experiences, said: “Augmented reality allows holidaymakers a new, more exciting access to historical facts and stories and takes into account the increasing desire of guests to explore cities and towns on their own.
“In our experience to date, the spectacles are also comfortable to wear for the user, so that they are not distracted by the actual experience.”
Digital acceleration director at Tui Destination Experiences, Peter Ulwahn, added: “We are delighted to be one of the first providers in the world to offer this technology to our guests.
“We are convinced that augmented reality can significantly enrich excursions and activities and are therefore investing early in this new form of experience.”
Andy Gstoll, chief executive officer of Mixed Reality I/O, the company partnering with Tui Destination Experiences, said: “Tourism is full of potential for immersive technologies, whether in virtual reality for planning the holiday or in augmented reality during the stay in the destination.
“As the world’s leading company in the sector, Tui is excellently positioned to offer new value-added experiences to travellers with such innovative services.”