WASHINGTON — Alexandria tourism officials just rolled out a series of virtual reality tours of Alexandria attractions, called Visit Alexandria 360, and it is just what it sounds like.
“You can go to historic Captain’s Row. You can bike the Mount Vernon Trail. You can dine on King Street. You can take in the stunning water views at Mount Vernon,” Patricia Washington, president and CEO of Visit Alexandria, told WTOP.
Visit Alexandria 360 includes an introductory two-minute video and 22 separate, narrated panoramic photos of historic sites and attractions. While the VR tours are best with a virtual reality headset, they can also be viewed on phones, or computers.
What is the point of letting people visit “virtually” when tourism officials would like them to come and spend some time and money in person?
“We know from our research that 90 percent of people who visit say they are likely to return,” she said. “The tours are a way to bring the city to the potential visitors. Basically, it is the next best thing to being here,” Washington said.
A 2017 study by Destination Analysts found more than half of travelers surveyed would be interested in using VR for travel inspiration.
The Alexandria Visitor Center also has an existing virtual reality station at 221 King Street, where you can sample experiences like biking through Wilkes Street Tunnel or enjoying the Potomac River waterfront views at Jones Point Park.
You can sample the VR tours of Alexandria on the Visit Alexandria website.