Three-dimensional virtual tourism
|This article needs additional citations for verification. (April 2012)|
3DVT (or 3D virtual tourism) refers to the releastic 3D navigation of virtual reality environments for purposes of exploring physical places in space and time without physically traveling there. 3DVT invokes a virtual tour that employs usage of 3D models in addition to 2D panoramic images, a sequence of hyperlinked still or video images, and/or image-based models of the real location and multimedia support elements such as sound effects, music, narration, and text. As opposed to actual tourism, 3DVT is accessed on a computer (typically over the Internet). It does not require travel, but ideally, 3DVT viewing evokes an experience of moving through the represented 3D space.
Virtual tours can be especially useful for universities and in the real-estate industry, looking to attract prospective students and tenants/buyers, respectively, eliminating for the consumer the cost of travel to numerous individual locations. For these kind of applications, typically involving on-line maps, 3DVT can be designed and constructed from 3D interactive mapping technologies, such as Google Earth or Virtual Earth or X3D Earth.
Virtual tours can also allow tourists to see and explore locations to assess whether they would like to visit a region, city or specific site prior to physically travelling there. The Moroccan National Tourist Office  recently launched a campaign to allow tourists to “Visit Marrakech from the comfort of [their] seat”. The campaign virtually recreated historical sites and fashionable areas in Marrakech to encourage a more diverse audience to come and see the city for themselves.
Historical virtual tourism
Additionally, historical virtual tourism platforms, such as Heritage Key, can allow travellers to not simply see historic sites as they are now, but to see them at any point in history.