Age and level of education impact on expectancy and perceived similarity between virtual and real touristic environments

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Maximino Bessa
António Coelho
Miguel Correia Melo
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This paper focuses on the combination of 360-degree video and virtual reality for improving the touristic experience. Three scenarios were considered in this study: two 360-degree video visualizations, each one related to different touristic places, both presented in an immersive way, followed by an actual visit to those places. By comparing these situations, it was intended to determine the degree of perceived similarity between the virtual and the corresponding real sites, and to analyze if the users' expectancy was fulfilled. This research comprised a qualitative analysis using data collection based on questionnaires, which were applied to a sample consisted of 45 participants. The independent variables of the study were the participants' age and level of education. The results show no statistically significant impact between the two independent variables (users'age and level of education) and perceived similarity and users' expectancy. Our findings suggest that virtual tourism can act as an efficient promotion tool, considering that users' perceived destination image is not compromised regarding their age or level of education. © 2019 IEEE.