On August 22, 2006, I wrote an article titled 'Terrorism, Oil, Globalization, and the Impact of Computing', in which I illustrate how four factors are converging to cause radical change in the nature of business travel and tourism. One paragraph in particular was :
Google Earth and WikiMapia are very limited substitutes for traveling in person to a vacation locale. However, as these technologies continue to layer more detail onto the simulated Earth, combined with millions of attached photos, movies, and blogs inserted by readers into associated locations, a whole new dimension of tourism emerges.
Sure enough, today we learn that Google Earth is adding significantly more travelogue content into its application, which can even include individual blogs and video clips. Users will continuously be contributing new content in a Wikipedia-like manner, as Google Earth and WikiMapia continually force mutual enhancement. Suddenly, the extent that you can experience a remote, exotic, or dangerous location has just increased substantially. It still does not replace being there, of course, but this is free of cost and of the hassles of going to an airport, flying, taking taxis, worrying about political correctness compromising airport security, etc.
Go on, and check out a place you are never likely to visit in person. Then tell us how it felt and if it was more fun than you initially expected.