In Amazon’s quest to become a one-stop-shop for pretty much everything, the company is now offering virtual travel experiences, including walking tours and cooking classes. Dubbed Amazon Explore, the platform operates in a similar way to Airbnb Experiences and gives homebound travelers the chance to feel like they’re out in the world again.

Experiences on Amazon Explore include 40 minutes of finding your inner zen on a virtual tour of Nanzen-ji Temple in Kyoto, a 45-minute virtual wine tasting in Argentina and a 40-minute session on making fish tacos in Mexico. The experiences are one-on-one sessions, with the host live streaming in real time. You can also shop around for one-of-a-kind items shown in local shops and markets during the tour and have them sent directly to your home, shipped to you by your host, as if you’re shopping on Amazon. Viewers can take screenshots of the experience to savor as ‘travel’ photos.

Amazon launches virtual travel platform
Wine-lovers can now enjoy a virtual wine-tasting experience in Argentina thanks to Amazon Platform © Lumi Images/Frank Sippach/Getty

The selection of experiences cover five continents, and Amazon says that more will continue to be added. Many of the experiences are currently run by tour operators, though individual guides can also apply to become hosts.

The experiences are conducted using one-way video but two-way audio, meaning participants can ask questions of their hosts, but the hosts won’t see them. Users must have a laptop or desktop computer (experiences aren’t yet available on mobile devices), an up-to-date internet browser, a microphone, headphones and high-speed internet. Bookings are currently invitation only and are only available in the United States while the site is in beta. Users can request an invitation by logging into their account on one of the experience pages. 

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