Award, Immersive 3D Virtual Tour, Travel and Hospitality, Virtual Reality

The future is digital! Limina Studios lands top digital award for 3D virtual tour of historic Saudi site.

Limina Studios has been honored at the recent Digital Twin Awards for their 3D virtual tour of the ancient AlUla site in Saudi Arabia. Capturing the historic oasis for a 360 virtual tour earned the firm the award for ‘Best Digital Twin for Historical Preservation 2023’ using digital twin technology. While most can only dream of visiting AlUla, which includes the iconic Elephant Rock, the 3D tour gives everyone the opportunity to do so via the magic of virtual reality. The award is the result of a successful collaboration between Limina Studios and the Royal Commission for AlUla to bring the historic region to an entirely new audience with a 3D model virtual tour.

“This innovative collaboration offers a glimpse of what can be achieved through immersive experiences for the tourism industry, which are truly transformative. We’re proud to have achieved the recognition of the Digital Twin Awards, and look forward to creating exciting new immersive experiences powered by Matterport,” said Berahman, founder of Limina Studios. Along with the famous Elephant Rock, AlUla’s Old Town and the rock formations of Hegra were captured in detail using innovative technology to create a virtual reality of the site that dates back to the 6th century BC.

Teaming up with the Royal Commission for AlUla, Limina Studios created a unique 3D virtual tour that has impressed audiences with its attention to detail that enables VR users to get up close and experience history in an engaging way. 

Placing the emphasis firmly on the engagement of the VR user, the virtual tour is experience-led and a tantalizing indicator of the future of the tourism industry. In other words, you’ll be able to travel the world with a 3D tour from the comfort of your own living room. “The tourism industry has made leaps forward in the use of technology in recent decades, and virtual reality provides the new frontier. This award reflects how Limina Studios has appreciated the potential of 360 tours, utilizing the power of this technology to transcend traditional limitations,” he says.

Berahman added, “Whilst it was critical to capture the essence of AlUla in our 3D tour, we were also highly mindful of how virtual reality breaks barriers. Using virtual reality removes physical restrictions and fosters a more inclusive, accessible experience. AlUla is now truly open to people from all over the globe, regardless of physical capability or geographic location.”

The scale and success of the 3D virtual tour of AlUla opens the doors for future collaborations as digital twin technology is only going to improve. In the past tourists relied on photos or a guided tour – now they can enjoy a complete 360 virtual tour with no time restrictions. 

Putting the audience firmly in the (virtual) driving seat was vital when creating the 3D virtual tour of AlUla, says Berahman. Going forward he expects that collaborations such as the fruitful one between Limina Studios and Royal Commission for AlUla can potentially complement and benefit the tourism sector. 

“We wanted to give the power back to the audiences. Instead of providing flat materials, a 360 virtual tour is enriched with detail, and the user shapes their own interaction. The benefit of this comes from being able to move freely at will; we believe there’s ‘more in motion’ and use VR to showcase this ethos,” he says. 

Being able to explore the world via virtual reality from the comfort of your own home not only removes geographic and physical barriers but opens the door for an entirely new tourist group. For example, those who are unable or unwilling to travel can now see the globe using state-of-the-art virtual reality technology. 

And with many historical sites in various states of ruin, the prospect of seeing them in all their glory will likely appeal to tourists. 

“The lines between digital capabilities and physical presence will overlap in powerful ways. 360 tours will only grow in terms of interactivity and personalization, extending beyond what is possible today. 3D tours truly present an interactive experience that breaks boundaries,” says Berahman. 

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