Science& Tech

We’ve tried it: Being a cyber-tourist in Cardiff

Visiting Cardiff online.Will cyber tourism replace real visits?

Visiting Cardiff online.
Will cyber tourism replace real visits?

The Wales Tourism Alliance (WTA) is urging tourism associations, trade associations and businesses across Wales to plan events for the Wales Tourism Week 2013, which will end on March 3. After the launch of Wikivoyage last month, The Archer team seized the opportunity to be an e-tourist for a day in Cardiff.

Tourism in Wales is growing as 9.8 per cent of employment within Wales comes from tourism, representing 172,000 full time and part-time jobs. Gwynedd, Mid Wales, is the region the most dependent on tourism as 14.5 per cent of jobs are related to the industry. Visitors bring £6.18 million to the Welsh economy, including £1.28 spent of eating and drinking.

On the other hand, cyber activities have skyrocketed worldwide. People now order food, entertain themselves, study, work and even fall in love online. As more and more people live online, how is cyber-tourism doing in Wales?
Our aim was to visit Cardiff without leaving the chair, and that’s what we did.

In a couple of clicks I found out that Cardiff is mainly divided into two parts: the commercial centre, which is bounded by the River Taff on the west and the docklands area of Cardiff Bay further south.

Let’s head to the city centre. After having walked along The Taff River with Google Street view’s help, we can now enter one of the main visitors’ attractions, Cardiff Castle.

The official website of the Castle provides visitors with a bit of history but the visit goes further.
Visitors can watch a two minute video showing in details the outside as well as the inside of the Castle. It shows different events hosted by the Castle such as fight reconstructions, which give cyber tourists the impression to be there. More videos and interviews are available on the Vimeo account of Cardiff Castle.

There’s no need to take pictures as panoramic pictures of the Castle are also available. The cyber tourist can click on pictures and choose from different 360 degrees views of the Castle Wall, the Banqueting Room and the Keep among others. These original views offer you the possibility to see the Castle from another angle, which you would probably have missed with a classic visit.

Leaving history behind us, let’s go to the Millennium Stadium, the home of Wales’ national sport, rugby.

Similar to Cardiff Castle, the Stadium traces back the arena’s history from its construction until nowadays. A timeline of events from 2000 onwards shows the events, sports, concerts and social activities hosted by the Stadium. It is supported by a gallery of pictures, which shows new aspects of the stadium, for example how the field is prepared before a rugby game or how the roof progressively closes.
I’m feeling a bit tired after all this clicking around, let’s have a shopping break!

Between Queen Street, High Street, St David’s Centre, the Capitol Centre and all the shopping arcades, Cardiff is heaven on earth for shopping addicts.

I randomly choose St David’s Centre and go through the floors and shops with the store map. I almost forgot that it was my best friend’s birthday tomorrow. Let’s stay on the ground floor and find a jeweller’s store. I enter Pia Jewellery and in a couple of clicks, I ordered the perfect bracelet for my friend.

My next stop is Cardiff Civic centre, another famous touristic destination. The Welsh National War Memorial, Cardiff University, the Law Courts, the National Museum and Gallery and the City Hall are all located in Cathays Park.
Following the tips of Trip advisor, I’m going to the National Museum of Cardiff.

I’m especially interested in art and decide to hang in the impressionist and modern art gallery. In addition to historical explanations of the art movement, the museum posted pictures of paintings. I even had the opportunity to visit the modern art gallery in great detail thanks to a two minute video.

If you don’t fancy modern art, videos are available for every gallery so there’s surely something for everyone!
That was my last stop. Mission accomplished, I went through the beautiful and majestic Cardiff Castle, had a couple of good views of the Millennium Stadium, went shopping and had an art lesson at the National Museum of Cardiff without leaving my room.

However comprehensive and fun my visit of Cardiff was, I would still recommend cyber tourism as an additional tool for modern visitors. Cyber tourism could be used as a pre-visit to make sure not to miss all these new extras proposed by venues’ websites.

Although cyber tourism has plenty of advantages, such as its low price and originality, it will probably never replace the sensations and impressions a real visit triggers.

Morgane Kimmich

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