An exhilarating backwater houseboat cruise in scenic palm-fringed Kerala can now be experienced remotely at a number of airports in India, courtesy virtual reality.
Kerala Tourism is rolling out ‘The Great Backwater Experience’ zone at special interactive stalls set up in departure terminals at airports in New Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. The initiative allows passengers to partake of an iconic Kerala experience while waiting to catch their flight.
The zone is up and functional at Indira Gandhi International airport in New Delhi and visitors can get an immersive experience of sitting inside a ‘kettuvellam’, the traditional Kerala houseboat, floating on tranquil backwaters in a place situated over 2,000 km away. This has been made possible through the innovative use of virtual realityShri U.V. Jose, Director, Kerala Tourism.
Kerala’s famous backwaters are brought to life for visitors through a two-minute film specially shot using 360 degree technology utilising six cameras simultaneously which can be viewed after they don an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.
The zone is fitted with a life-size houseboat installation into which the visitor enters and dons the headset. The film recreates the beauty of the rippling waters of a lagoon watching the distant sunset, the birds, the fishes, and other flora and fauna as they roll along.
The initiative, part of the tourism department’s ‘Out of Home’ marketing campaign to promote brand Kerala, is targeted at high net worth individuals in the domestic market. The zone in Terminal 3 of the Indira Gandhi International airport in Delhi is located before the security area in the Departures section.
“Delhi is the first airport where we have set up the ‘experience site’. Preparations are on to create similar zones at the Bengaluru and Mumbai airports too,” Shri Jose said.
After their virtual reality experience, those visiting the stall will also be asked to tweet with a special hashtag, #Greatbackwaters, for an opportunity to get a picturesque postcard from a dispensing device installed there.
The dispensing activity is controlled by tweets from users. The dispenser will capture tweets with the specified hashtag and then randomly reward a tweet with a postcard.
“Under this ‘Tweet of Postcards from Kerala’ activity, a postcard will be dispensed once every 15 minutes or so. The postcard can be mailed to near and dear ones at the zone itself,” Shri Jose said.