Los Angeles became the top U.S. destination for Chinese tourists last year, but the City of Angels has no plans of getting complacent. By tapping into the VR technology, it hopes to draw even bigger numbers.
The annual number of Chinese tourists to L.A. just went over 1 million last year, up to 22 percent from 2015. The latest data from the Los Angeles Tourism & Convention Board revealed that these travelers who came all the way from mainland China lavished $1.28 billion in L.A. in 2015 alone. If you match this with the report from Canalys, a technology market analyst firm in Singapore that revealed about 40 percent of VR headsets shipped to China, it's easy to see where the tourism industry comes in.
FansTang, a boutique digital media company based in Shanghai and a subsidiary of Remark Media in Las Vegas, tapped into travel marketing by creating VR footages that will hopefully lure travelers to set foot in L.A. It already captured popular tourist attractions such as hang gliding in Malibu, riding the Skyslide on the skyscraper US Bank Tower and touring Beverly Hills' Greystone Mansion. It aims to target Chinese millennials but also plans to reach other countries like Japan, South Korea and the US.
"Places that have wide-open, natural landscapes really benefit from the technology," Kate Stewart of Virtual Reality Los Angeles told Los Angeles Times. So Stewart thinks L.A.'s tourist attractions are at an advantage and that VR can make it easier for people to decide where they want to travel.
Phocuswright's Vice President of Research Douglas Quinby couldn't agree more. Quinby told CNBC that VR as a travel marketing tool can do a lot especially for less popular destinations but with great natural cultural attractions. VR "can give travelers confidence that this is the place to go," he added.