Travel is Changing
Winter is coming! Wouldn’t it be nice to travel somewhere? All of your friends and family will soon be shoveling snow off their driveways. After your exhausting winter chores, wouldn’t it be nice to visit the Caribbean nation of Barbados? Starting early next year you can visit from the comfort of your own home in front of your own fireplace. Interested? Read on.
Recently there were a few out of this world transactions (literally) that you may have heard of. If not, here’s a quick recap: a plot of virtual real estate was bought in Decentraland for $2.5 million or close to $410 a square foot, about a third of what it costs in hot cities like San Francisco and Manhattan Borough of New York City, while a virtual yacht was purchased for $650,000 to cruise around the virtual world of Sandbox.
In the real world, El Salvador recently officially adopted Bitcoin as a means of currency. On the flip side, the coronavirus pandemic has crushed travel, and has tourism boards scrambling to rethink their tourism strategies. Barbados Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade has thought outside of the proverbial box by signing agreements with Decentraland and Somnium Space (another virtual world) to identify and purchase land to build out virtual embassies and consulates that can provide e-visas and allow visitors to teleport between virtual worlds.
The opening of the embassy slated for January 2022 would be the first of its kind in the Metaverse. Barbados is one of the friendliest places in the world for crypto and its move into the Metaverse could symbolize its willingness to play in this world as well. It’s a smart move for the island nation as the Metaverse could change the way that we view leisure travel and vacationing. However we need to ask if countries will even exist in the Metaverse or will each world (i.e. Decentraland, Sandbox, Somnium Space) act as its own country?
The Future of Travel
Why would there be countries at all? To create additional friction? After all, the governing body would probably trump all rules that any country could create in their virtual world. Or is the goal of a virtual country or consulate to drive people to the real world experience, which most likely is much more straightforward and profitable.
At the end of the day, everyone is speculating and throwing their hats in the ring for what might become the biggest gold rush of our time, or the biggest flop since folks bought tulip bulbs for the cost of a high end mansion in the swanky part of town.
What does virtual travel look like? Will it be better than “normal” travel? When you see people on vacation, their faces are glued to their Metaverse toting phones anyway. Might as well be in the Metaverse fully.
Besides the oculus goggles, gloves and fully immersive sleeves give you the feeling as if your body is actually there. If you lived in New York City in the winter, you could simply escape by slipping into a sleeping bag type device, putting on your goggles, headphones, and gloves and instantly be transported to a tropical island where the feel of the sun and waves on your skin, the smell of salt water, the sounds of nature, and the view of the ocean are all right there. I’ll be right back 🙂
Are any of you thinking of virtual travel within the Metaverse? Is this a good or bad thing? What are your thoughts? What about the environmental impacts? Are there any virtual world travel influencers? Are there visitors to Decentraland that write about the cool sights and scenes and things to do, secret passwords, and underground clubs that are the new virtual travel influencers? And to replicate the entire experience, do we all fly first class and can we please get rid of middle seats?