The Interreg France (Channel) England project Vista AR creates new visitor experiences by adopting advanced digital technologies at partner cultural and heritage sites. These sites face significant economic challenges in today’s climate. The purpose of Vista AR is to increase the tourism revenue of these sites, via a rise in visitor numbers.

Within the Interreg France (Channel) England program, VISTA brings together partners with a wide variety of profiles. The richness of the collaboration between the partners comes from the complementarity of their skills in the fields of tourism, digital and the economy (customer experience, business models). In the digital age, cultural and heritage sites wishing to innovate their offer to the public can take advantage of two solutions: virtual reality/augmented reality applications and tools for analysing visitor experience. These tools are either prohibitively expensive or are still under development.

VISTA wants to work to develop these various tools to make them available to the greatest number of sites via a cloud system.

In the VISTA project, visitor experience analysis tools involve various methods of collecting and analysing visitors’ comments and behaviours. VISTA has chosen to use visitor profiling and Text Analytics to gather the information needed to: identify target groups, define the most relevant AR and VR devices, and refine sources of profitability.

In addition, four types of AR/VR devices (helmet, tablet, immersive room, digital furniture) will be developed in collaboration with the Château de Fougères and Exeter Cathedral.

Each AR/VR application will include advanced digital models and animations to provide new experiences to target groups. Generic models and animations will form part of a library to promote the sharing and reuse of digital data. Scripting tools will be developed to enable Cultural and Heritage Sites to develop their own applications.

Before the end of the project, all the tools developed will be tested by deployment on four sites: The Valloires Gardens, The Lorient Underwater Museum, Botallack Mine and the South West Coast Path.

At the end of the project, a vast database of cultural heritage stakeholders will have been created to ensure the transferability of an innovative system and optimise the economic benefits.

VISTA aims to create a heritage hub (SIG- type structure) to promote a common solution to a common problem. This SIG will have ownership of the tools and act as a gateway for sites post-project.