Virtual reality (VR) has taken the world by storm. Previously restricted to entertainment, VR is now being used by multiple industries keen to explore the emerging technology.

Tourism Australia said businesses can create a virtual walk-through experience using headsets, such as Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard, and allow people to artificially visit any place in the world.

The Australian Government brought the technology to the forefront earlier this year when it incorporated VR into a $40 million tourism campaign. Tourism Australia launched its ‘Explore Australia in 360’’, which offers potential tourists the chance to virtually travel to Australia’s most popular landmarks.

“VR is an excellent way to bring the immersive nature of the campaign to life,” Tourism Australia Chief Marketer Lisa Ronson said.

She said virtual reality is an important and exciting opportunity for the tourism industry.

“The benefit is the consumer can immerse themselves in the fantastic and diverse experiences that Australia has to offer,” Ms Ronson said.

“They get much closer to feeling what Australia is like than traditional media.”

The campaign, launched in New York, has had a positive response from consumers and industry.

”We have had excellent feedback from international agencies to say that Tourism Australia is ahead of the game globally,” Ms Ronson said.

Virtual Reality Ventures Managing Director Stefan Pernar said there is a shift toward the use of virtual reality and businesses must adapt to new technologies to stay relevant.

“VR hardware is beginning to enter consumer’s living rooms and if companies are not starting to examine it now there will be a real risk getting disrupted in the next two to three years,” Mr Pernar said.

Mr Pernar dismissed concern the use of virtual reality would stifle tourism because people would not need to travel. He said it would compel more tourists to experience the “real deal”.