We all remember the start of lockdown, where the streets were stripped bare of people and it seemed like an almost eery stillness had descended over everything around us. The empty canals of Venice turned translucent, hotels lay empty, and pollution was so low that people could see the Himalayas for the time. With international travel bans in place, COVID-19 seemed to bring a globalised and interconnected world to a sudden, screeching halt.
Now, as news of the vaccine brings about a new era of hope for a post-pandemic world, it’s anticipated that those who have been deprived of their usual summer getaways will begin flocking to tourist hotspots in record numbers once travel bans are lifted. With concerns rising about the impact this will have on countries already battling overtourism, we explore whether virtual reality could become part of travel’s “new normal”.