A public procurement was announced by the DUNC project in the spring of 2020, where a new, innovative and sustainable product or service connected to Karlskrona’s World Heritage was called for. The winner received 20 000 € to develop such a product or service.
Local company AB audiola won the procurement with the idea to make parts of the World Heritage more accessible through virtual reality, in this case Lindholmen in Karlskrona. It is an area that only can be reached by booking a guided tour via the tourist information office.
AB audiola suggested creating three guided virtual tours filmed with 360 video technique to make the area more accessible to more people. The product turned out to be even more important with the corona virus in mind.
Ola Hallqvist at AB audiola started writing scripts for the movies and the local guide, writer and journalist Matilda Skoglöw was hired as the narrator in the videos. The local organization "Varvshistoriska föreningen" also contributed to the content with their knowledge of the old shipyard. Then they started to film the videos and the introduction movie for the project "Virtual World heritage 360" in Lindholmen.
The Virtual World Heritage 360 consists of a website (www.vv360.se), an introduction movie and three filmed guided virtual tours of the following attractions in Lindholmen, Karlskrona; the Rope-walk, the Wasa shed and the Polhem dry dock.
Through these movies people can visit these amazing environments virtually, enter and walk around in the buildings without actually being there. This is a sustainable way of experiencing a World Heritage Site that makes the site accessible for everyone.
It is additionally planned for stations with VR-glasses in four locations in Karlskrona; in Lindholmen, at the Naval museum, at Blekinge museum and at the Tourist Information Office.
To travel virtually is per se sustainable. You do not even have to be in Karlskrona to experience its unique World Heritage thanks to the Virtual World Heritage 360. The covid-19 pandemic has also proved that products like these are more important than ever and will probably be a natural part of our lives in the future.
The product also enables people with disabilities to visit the site.
There was a dialogue between the DUNC project, Ola at AB audiola, Matilda Skoglöw and Varvshistoriska föreningen about the content of the movies.
At the website for the project www.vv360.se there are surveys available both in Swedish and English for users to fill in. Inhabitants and visitors were also able to test the product and fill in a survey during the World Heritage days in Karlskrona (October 2020). In addition to that, part of Karlskrona municipality were asked to participate in evaluating the product.
Product development by AB audiola: 20 000 €
The product release was delayed a few weeks due to problems with authority to access/film in the closed areas on Lindholmen. It would have been good to reassure earlier that all of the correct permissions had been applied for.
It also takes longer than you think to await suitable weather conditions when working with a drone.
Other sites could definitely benefit from adapting this concept to their site, to raise awareness and interest for the site, and to make it accessible to more people. Virtual travel is a sustainable way of discovering a site and will most definitely be a larger part of our way of traveling in the future.
The Virtual world heritage 360 has contributed to the Global Goals targets 8.9 Promote Beneficial and Sustainable Tourism and 11.4 Protect the World’s Cultural and Natural Heritage. Promote Universal Understanding of Sustainable Lifestyles.