"a unique opportunity to enjoy a virtual globetrotting tour"
Google’s Arts & Culture platform has added a feature to provide users with a virtual tour of the Taj Mahal.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, international travel remains difficult.
The year 2020 saw a 75% drop in international tourist numbers. As a result, there is a large strain on the cultural tourism sector.
So, Google Arts & Culture has been adding relevant sources since 2020 to help users discover new places from home.
The platform has added virtual tours of 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The tours came in celebration of World Heritage Day, which took place on April 18, 2021.
The virtual tours can be found under ‘Explore UNESCO World Heritage’ on the Google Arts & Culture platform.
Its resources include informative slides and presentations, as well as 360° views and images of the sites.
The Tour from the Top allows users to experience views of the Taj Mahal from all angles. It also offers Street View-like views from various positions.
However, The Wonder that is Taj offers facts about the Taj Mahal and its history, along with some early images.
According to Google, cultural tourism around the world has taken a hit due to Covid-19 prohibiting international travel.
So, it has partnered with UNESCO to introduce a variety of virtual tours to its Arts & Culture platform.
Speaking of the ‘Explore UNESCO World Heritage’ hub, Ernesto Ottone, UNESCO Assistant-General for Culture, said:
“This is a unique opportunity to enjoy a virtual globetrotting tour of cultural landmarks and outstanding places of natural beauty, as well as to access accurate and reliable information on sites of outstanding universal value.”
“Of course, this virtual exploration will never replace the unique experience of seeing these places for real and visiting World Heritage sites. We shall travel again.
“In the meantime, we hope it will nevertheless enable users to immerse themselves in the beauty of our world, and inspire action to protect it.”
The virtual tours available on the Google Arts & Culture platform are a useful way to connect with world history from home.
The tours can also act as alternative resources for educators to teach students about natural and cultural heritage.
As well as the Taj Mahal, Google Arts & Culture also offers virtual tours of the Colosseum, the Angkor Wat temple and Serengeti National Park.