Visit Anaheim is taking Samsung Oculus virtual reality systems to conventions to give visual tours of what you can see on a trip to the city. (Courtesy of Visit Anaheim)
Anaheim has entered the virtual world.
The tourism and marketing arm of the city, Visit Anaheim, has introduced a virtual reality video giving people a first-person view of some of the city’s landmarks and popular venues.
“We’re always looking for new ways to showcase our destination,” said Jay Burress, chief executive and president of Visit Anaheim, which also promotes visitors to Orange County. “We think virtual reality is a great way to do that.”
The high-tech offering is just the latest the tourism bureau is doing to bring in more visitors and conventions to highlight the city. The tourism bureau, along with its partners from the Orange County Visitors Association, recently announced the opening of a third office in Guangzhou, China. In 2013, offices opened in Shanghai and Beijing.
Last year, more than 100,000 visitors came to Orange County from China, Burress said.
And, more than 23 million people visited Anaheim last year, the group said. Since 2011, visitor numbers have increased 35 percent.
The city relies heavily on visitors staying in local hotels and shopping in the area to help pay for day-to-day operations such as providing police officers and firefighters, parks and road maintenance through its general fund. In the next 12 months, the city’s general fund is expected to increase by 4 percent to $312 million.
The two-minute virtual reality video made by Costa Mesa-based marketing agency Idea Hall is available on YouTube. Filming began late last year and wrapped up after the NAMM convention. Visit Anaheim declined to disclose the cost.
When Visit Anaheim officials attend sales conventions, they bring two Samsung Oculus systems. Visitors don the virtual reality goggles which visually take them around the Anaheim Regional Transportation Center, the Anaheim Convention Center, the Packing House, Unsung Brewery and the Ranch restaurant. Visit Anaheim also gives away cardboard VR goggles.
“This is just the first iteration of our use of virtual reality,” Burress said. “Disneyland is not the only thing in Anaheim. We want to highlight other parts of the city and this gives us a sophisticated and fun vehicle to do that.”