Sit in Delhi and Enjoy Backwater Cruise!

New Delhi: Travellers waiting for flights at Delhi airport can now experience an exhilarating backwater houseboat cruise in scenic palm-fringed Kerala, courtesy virtual reality.

Kerala Tourism has launched ‘The Great Backwater Experience’ zone at a special interactive stall set up at the departure terminal of Indira Gandhi International Airport. The initiative allows passengers to savour an iconic Kerala experience while waiting to catch their flight.

Similar zones are also being set up at airports in Mumbai and Bengaluru.

“The zone is up and functional at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi and visitors can get an immersive experience of sitting inside a ‘kettuvellam’, the traditional Kerala houseboat, floating on tranquil backwaters in a place situated over 2,000 km away. This has been made possible through the innovative use of virtual reality,” said U V Jose IAS, Director, Kerala Tourism.

Kerala’s famous backwaters are brought to life for visitors through a two-minute film – specially shot using 360 degree technology utilising six cameras simultaneously – which can be viewed after they don an Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.

The zone is fitted with a life-size houseboat installation into which the visitor enters and dons the headset. The film recreates the beauty of the rippling waters of a lagoon and brings in the distant sunset, the birds, the fishes, and other flora and fauna as they roll along.

The initiative, part of the Tourism Department’s ‘Out of Home’ marketing campaign to promote ‘Brand Kerala’, is targeted at high net worth individuals in the domestic market. The zone at Terminal 3 is located before the security area in the Departures section.

“Delhi is the first airport where we have set up the ‘experience site.’ Preparations are on to create similar zones at Bengaluru and Mumbai airports too,” Jose said.

After their virtual reality experience, those visiting the stall will also be asked to tweet with a special hashtag, #Greatbackwaters, for an opportunity to get a picturesque postcard from a dispensing device installed there.