Amazon Soft Launches Virtual Tours — Can Offline Experiences Be Far Behind?

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Building on its modest domestic flights business in India, Amazon has taken another tentative step into travel with the invitation-only debut of virtual experiences in North America, Central America, South America, Europe, Australia and Asia.

The soft launch comes through virtual tours on Amazon Explore, which the company described as a “live-streaming service that allows you to learn, shop, and discover new places right from your computer.” Geekwire apparently broke the story.

Amazon touted a virtual walking tour of Mexico City urban art, and a Prague old town virtual jaunt, as well as experiences that highlighted personal shopping skills, and customizing silk scarves in Australia.

There were few details about the tours themselves. When you click on the Picturesque Prague tour, which costs $85 for the one-hour experience, Amazon said: “We received your invitation to try Amazon Explore. If selected you will receive an email notification when your invitation is available. Thank you for your interest.”

Hosts establish their own pricing, according to the Geekwire story, and the virtual tours use Amazon technology.

If these virtual experiences get traction, then Amazon could conceivably become the latest entrant into the offline tours and activities sector, competing with Viator, GetYourGuide, Klook, Musement, Expedia, and attractions’ operators themselves.

Amazon has twice in recent years tried to operate a hotel booking business, and abandoned that effort.

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