A 3D Virtual Reality Event in a Building on Times Square Allowed New Yorkers to Experience the Wonders of China without Setting Foot Outside of Manhattan

The “Experience Day of Beautiful China” global tour event, hosted by the China Intercontinental Communication Center (CICC), officially opened at the Thomson Reuters building in New York’s Times Square on September 14, 2015.

The event used the cutting-edge “immersive experience” as a tool to present China’s top 100 scenic destinations as “the visiting cards of Beautiful China”. The novel application of the technology makes it possible to enjoy the unique charms of China’s spectacular landscapes “close up and personal” without needing to take a trip.

This is the first time 3D virtual technology has been applied to tourism and culture. “Experience Day of Beautiful China” is expected to inaugurate a new model for Sino-U.S. cooperation. The interactive experience overcomes the limitations imposed by language, location, time and season and is immensely more vivid and appealing than traditional means such as video, photo or website.

Virtual reality has become the hot topic of the day since Facebook acquired Oculus, the immersive virtual reality technology company. In line with the trend, “Experience Day of Beautiful China” has created the largest online virtual tourism platform worldwide. Upon donning a wearable device, the “traveler” can freely wander about any of China’s renowned historical palaces, monuments or natural wonders within the virtual reality built using 3D technology and have a truly immersive tourism experience of China and its culture. The event also featured an interactive experience while strolling through the 3D scenes where users can use a joystick to create their own personalized tour.

CICC deputy director Jing Shuiqing said, “Travel is not just about enjoying the scenery or taking a relaxing vacation, it also about helping us understand different cultures as well as gain experience and a deeper understanding while on the journey. By applying 3D technology, we hope our guests discover the charm that is China.”

The event chose to make its first stop in the United States as the country is at the forefront of technology and has a higher degree of acceptance towards virtual technology. “Experience Day of Beautiful China” hopes to encourage more Americans to visit Chinathrough the hosting of the event.

According to China’s National Bureau of Statistics, 2.09 million Americans visited China as tourists in 2014, ranking the country third in terms of a destination for outbound travelers from the U.S.. During the same year, 2.18 million Chinese visitors traveled to the United States, ranking it sixth among destinations selected by Chinese tourists. The increasing level of cooperation between China and the United States and the tens of thousands visitors every day to both countries has advanced the joint development.

Tourism is also a strong stimulus to the economy as one of the strongest and fastest growing industries in the world. The World Travel and Tourism Council predicted that in 2015, the tourism industry will maintain its prompt growth and, in terms of its contribution to global GDP, grow by a further 3.7 percent, which is higher than the growth rate of the global economy overall.

China and the United States combined represents one third of the world’s economy, one fourth of its population and one fifth its trade volume. The increasingly prosperous trans-pacific civil aviation and tourism markets has great significance for the economic and trade relations between the two countries.

Deputy Consul-General Zhang Meifang of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in New York and representatives from the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China, the Sino-American Friendship Association, PR Newswire, the History Channel and Cimagine Media Group as well as tourism organizations from both China and the U.S. attended the event.

The “Experience Day of Beautiful China” event in New York was co-hosted by the State Council Information Office of People’s Republic of China, the China National Tourism Administration and the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in New York with strong support from Thomson Reuters.

The event is a leading initiative to further promote cultural exchanges between China and the United States. Deputy director Jing added that the initiative also intends to develop a similar program to bring similar experiences to the Chinese public through “Experience a Beautiful America” and “Experience a Beautiful World” events using the 3D technology and providing a more diverse and direct cultural experience and interactive engagement for “travelers” around the world.

“Experience Day of Beautiful China” will not only tour the U.S., but also around the world. Japan is likely to be the next country.