After months of secretive testing, Amazon is unveiling “Amazon Explore,” a new tech platform and marketplace that offers access to live virtual experiences with tour guides, store owners and other local experts in countries around the world.
A public beta of the service is launching Tuesday for Amazon’s US customers, who can request an invite for access to buy the virtual experiences.
Amazon isn’t the first to try virtual experiences. Most notably, Amazon Explore pits the company against Airbnb, which launched its own marketplace for live virtual experiences in April as a distraction for quarantined would-be travelers and a lifeline for its business in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
While Airbnb Online Experiences are available to small groups of people from different locations, Amazon is following its own path by focusing on one-on-one experiences for purchase, primarily by individuals and families. Amazon’s platform also lets its customers visit shops and purchase items of local interest to be shipped to their homes.
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