Holywood has become the first city in Northern Ireland to launch a virtual reality (VR) tour of the city as part of a game-changing marketing and tourism initiative. The County Down initiative was introduced by the Holywood Chamber of Commerce and created by local business JohnsonWestco, using both drone technology and 360-degree VR photography. The digital tour begins with a 360-degree bird’s-eye view of Holywood, allowing the user to move between 11 drones to see the entire city as seen from the sky. also enables full zoom in with an option to enter stores in an immersive experience, placing them virtually in the picture. The Holywood Chamber of Commerce, whose mission is to promote the commercial interests of the city and surrounding areas, says it feels the project will help put them on the map both locally and internationally. After more than 50 years of business in the city, Leslie Waite, co-chair of the Holywood Chamber of Commerce and owner of Hannah’s Florist, said: “As a business ow ner in Holywood for over 52 years, I am really excited about this news. technology that will really help us shout out how amazing Holywood is to visit, shop and do business.” The footage and photography from the drone is second to none and really brings our city to life showing everything from the beautiful waterfront sea to historic points of interest, public transport, parking, the more than 70 independent shops covering everything from women’s clothing boutiques to silver smiths, award-winning restaurants and t the many delicious cafes and delicatessens. “The Holywood virtual tour can be accessed via smartphone, tablet, computer or VR headset, and the various businesses featured can embed the tour link into their own website and social media channels. call were placed throughout the tour which gives more details about an individual business’s product or service, downloading a photo gallery, digital brochure, voucher or menus, link to highlights the hard work and commitment of the Chamber and the community to launch the initiative, David Johnson, co-owner of JohnsonWestCo, explained: “We are delighted to finally launch Holywood’s Virtual Visit after many months of planning and hard work. “Technology will not only help tourism, but it will also help boost sales and footfall as it allows potential visitors to get a glimpse of what is pro posed before embarking on a trip.” also allows companies to link their own e-commerce websites to the tour, which boosts international sales. “With 35 companies already signed up for the project, Susi Diesel, Co-Chair of Holywood Chamber and Director of Camphill Coffee Shop, urged others to sign up. She added: “We are delighted that Holywood is the first to invest in this technology. – it is such a unique city, rich in both history, character and culture and made up of many different independent businesses which allow visitors to get a glimpse of the High Street and surrounding areas. 35 companies have signed up for the project, and more are being added every week. We urge anyone who has not yet registered to contact us, as the more businesses we have listed, the greater the viewership.
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