1 Associate Professor of Communications, University of Tehran

2 M. A Student of Cultural Studies & Media, University of Tehran


Communication technologies today are greatly developed to the extent that obtaining information from different parts of the world is no more only depended to real and physical traveling. People are now able to travel as far as they want and whenever they wish using cyberspace, while sitting at home. Tourism in this condition is no more dependent on time, place and financial planning. Two important questions raise here, first, can virtual tourism replace the real tourism and eliminate the need for it? Secondly, could cognition produced by the virtual tourism be the same as the cognition formed by the real tourism? To answer these questions, defining the characteristics of virtual and real tourism is needed. The main basis of this comparison is being in special place and an experimental sense of being in that place, in the real tourism, on one hand, and selectivity of places and receiving packaged information in the virtual tourism, on the other. This paper claims that although the virtual tourism could offer vast and complete information to the tourist, but in reality it lacks sense of being in place and lived experience. For these reasons, the obtained cognition is manipulated and unreal. Secondly, this type of tourism can be considered only as a complement to the real tourism. A tourism that begins with virtual space and leads to the real world could have positive and better consequences of both spaces on the process of cognition.


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