As the Coronavirus-led pandemic continues to rise, especially in India, international travel has become a myth by now. So to help people discover new places from the comfort of their homes, Google has been adding relevant resources to its Google Arts & Culture platform since last year.
Now, to celebrate World Heritage Day, UNESCO, which was on April 18, Google has added virtual tours of 10 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including India’s Taj Mahal, Italy’s Colosseum, and more.
Showcased in a dedicated “Explore UNESCO World Heritage” microsite on the Google Arts & Culture platform, the resources include informative slides, presentations, and 360-degree and Street View images of multiple World Heritage sites. So now, if you want to take a trip to the great Taj Mahal, you do not have to go to Agra. You can simply visit the monument with the click of a button.
So, once you go to the Explore UNESCO World Heritage platform, you will find two virtual tours of the Taj Mahal listed under the “A Shrine to Love” section. The two virtual tours, titled “Taj Mahal: A Tour from the Top” and “The Wonder that is Taj”, will virtually transport you to one of India’s greatest pride, offering you views from angles you have never seen before.
The tour from the top of the Taj Mahal is truly breathtaking as you will be able to experience 360-degree, Street View-like views of the site from various unique positions. The latter, on the other hand, will take you back in time by providing significant facts about the monument along with some early images of the Taj Mahal.
Apart from the Taj Mahal, there are virtual tours of several UNESCO World Heritage sites such as Indonesia’s mystical temples, Portugal’s historic monasteries, and many others on the Explore UNESCO World Heritage library.
Google says that cultural tourism around the world has taken a major hit due to the COVID-19 situation. With a 75% drop in the number of international tourists in 2020, the cultural tourism sector, as per Ottone, is “hurting”.
So, to help tourists explore these unique sites around the world without physically being there, UNESCO and Google partnered to bring these virtual experiences on the Arts & Culture platform. Although the virtual experiences do not match the experience of actually being in the places, these will surely give cultural tourists a way to escape into their dream destinations amidst the ongoing crisis.