Metaverse travel service provider ANA NEO has teamed up with stakeholders in Hokkaido to promote digital and in-person travel to the northern Japanese prefecture.
The Tokyo-based company aims to offer new travel experiences in the metaverse and has announced its plan to build the Hokkaido content following its successful digitisation of Kyoto on its digital platform, ANA GranWhale, earlier this year.
ANA GranWhale allows users “to see and study cities and regions in Japan, as well as make online purchases from the localities they explore”, said a spokesperson of ANA Neo, adding that other regions are set to be launched on the platform.
The Hokkaido content is designed to introduce users to the island’s unique nature, culture and cuisine by showcasing various cities, each with their own distinctive appeal. One key focus will be on seasonal tourism content, so potential visitors can better understand which time of year would best suit their travel plans.
Short-term, the aim is for more people to enjoy the wonders of Hokkaido and promote the prefecture via word of mouth, while the long-term goal is to increase in-person visitors throughout the year.
“Our effort will focus on promoting tourism in Hokkaido and will benefit the revitalisation of various regions in the prefecture by allowing first-time visitors to experience online the regions’ benefits and beauty,” the spokesperson explained.
Selected digital destinations range from the well-known cities of Sapporo, the prefectural capital, and Hakodate, Hokkaido’s south-eastern port, to the more remote coastal city of Abashiri, home to drift ice in the Sea of Okhotsk and native Ainu culture, and Lake Akan, where its Akan Mashu National Park is home to some of the rarest plant species in the world.
To bring the places to life, Hokkaido Broadcasting Co. is contributing images and video materials from their archive, while Hoshino Resorts’ Risonare Tomamu and other companies will support the development of online attractions.