Wales joins metaverse to promote tourism

Wales has become the first nation in the UK to join the metaverse, and the first in Europe to use the virtual platform for advertising, according to its tourism body.

Visitors to virtual Wales can explore a historic castle – a nod to the country’s claim that it has more of these medieval structures per square mile than anywhere else in the continent – or navigate the “Welsh-inspired” landscape.

They can also take a cable car ride similar to one in Llandudno, north Wales, to travel from one side of the metaverse to the other. There’s also a reconstruction of the Roman-era Caerleon amphitheater in south Wales, showcasing the nation’s cultural offerings.

The project is the work of the Welsh government’s tourism agency Visit Wales, which said that “this digital space adds to the ever-expanding ways Wales is advertising itself to would-be visitors.”

The tourism body seems to be hoping to attract some of the 600 million people who visit a number of metaverse platforms annually to take a real-life trip to Wales after touring its virtual version.

Visitors to the Wales metaverse can take on “quests” such as collecting dragons hidden across it or build a virtual interactive itinerary with real-life places to stay, attractions, and events.

Broadcaster Steffan Powell, who hosted a virtual launch of the Wales metaverse, said the experience “will give potential visitors a flavor of all the exciting things you can see and do on a holiday in Wales.”

He said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to promote Wales to the world and an innovative way to potentially open millions of sets of eyes to the beauty of Cymru.”

The Wales metaverse is hosted on the Spatial platform, while the country’s tourism authorities also have billboard ads promoting the country on Roblox.

“The Wales Metaverse has been created to reach new audiences – wherever they may be in the world – and inspire them to visit our awesome nation for real,” Welsh Tourism Minister Hannah Blythyn said.

“By showcasing some of the best Wales has to offer visitors in this incredibly innovative way, we’re putting Wales in an online sphere where millions of people already meet every day,” she said.

The Welsh world has been created in partnership with Swansea-based Meta architects, iCreate. It is free to visit and can be accessed via smartphone, tablet, laptop, computer, and via Meta Quest headset.