Coronavirus: How a Kiwi tech company is promoting international tourism in the age of closed borders

What your virtual tourism experience could look like.
What your virtual tourism experience could look like. Photo credit: Supplied/

A Kiwi tech company has come up with a solution to help the world see New Zealand without leaving their own homes. 

With challenging times ahead for tourism as the country's borders remain shut while efforts are made to minimise the spread of COVID-19, one of the world's most prominent virtual reality developers' new software could help bridge the gap while there's no travel. 

Designed by Kiwi start-up company, Aotearoa Discovered offers a view of picturesque New Zealand scenes without actually being there.

"It's a humanitarian effort in my mind - it's a way of giving people something to actually look forward to," creative visionary officer Simon Che de Boer told Newshub.

Aotearoa Discovered will take users through a range of different Kiwi experiences and will be available on video game service Steam.

To fast track the project; last month was awarded a sum of funding from the creators of the popular video game Fortnite - software giant Epic Games.

"This allows the five guys we have to retain full-time employment for the next year," Che de Boer said of the funding.

"We're seeing an opportunity where we could get this to market in the next two to three months if we ramp up more."

His work couldn't have come at a better time, amid the COVID-19 crisis where countries remain shut to non-citizens. On top of Aotearoa Discovered, the company is developing a type of volumetric video technology called Project deepMirror.

"One can describe the experience as being not too different from that of speaking between a sheet of glass, you're in their 3D space and they are in yours, you share not just eye contact but light itself," Che de Boer explains.

"New Zealand could be seen as a technology saviour to the other countries of people who are stuck in their houses and can't spend time with each other."

VR users will be able to get Aoteroa Discovered at home for free - Che de Boer hoping it will be out within the next month.