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The influence of virtual reality on the experience of religious cultural heritage content

Kyunghwa Hwang (School of Management, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)
M. Claudia tom Dieck (Faculty of Business and Law, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK)
Timothy Jung (Faculty of Business and Law, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK)
Ohbyung Kwon (School of Management, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Republic of Korea)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 22 June 2023

Issue publication date: 19 July 2024

413

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study is to expand the experience economy model and to determine if this model provides a better understanding of the process of growing intention to continue using religious cultural heritage content delivered digitally and intention to visit religious cultural heritage sites. In particular, it examines the influence of spiritual experience on the evaluation of religious cultural heritage content, comparing delivery via virtual reality (VR) to a web-based experience.

Design/methodology/approach

In this study, a representative religious cultural heritage destination, Jerusalem, was chosen as an example for the application. Participants (n = 292) were randomly divided into two groups, one group using the web and the other group experiencing VR. After experiencing the destination virtually, participants completed a survey, the results of which were analyzed using path analysis and multi-group analysis.

Findings

The results suggest that spiritual experience mediates the four elements of Pine and Gilmore (1998) experience economy model and the intention to continue engaging with the content virtually. Intellectual awareness of religious cultural heritage strengthens the spiritual experience, which mediates educational and aesthetic experiences and the successful use of VR and the web. Additionally, for participants experiencing VR, the influence of spiritual experience on the intention to continue using the virtual media to consume content related to religious cultural heritage sites and to visit actual religious heritage sites was stronger than for participants using the web.

Originality/value

This study based on an expanded experience economy model explores the use of digital technologies for the enhancement of spiritual experience. Comparison of web-based and VR content delivery provides important implications for destination marketers in terms of promoting destinations online and encouraging intention to visit actual sites in the future.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The additional affiliation for Timothy Jung is School of Management, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Republic of Korea.

This research was supported by the Eminent Scholar Program at Kyung Hee University in 2022.

Citation

Hwang, K., tom Dieck, M.C., Jung, T. and Kwon, O. (2024), "The influence of virtual reality on the experience of religious cultural heritage content", Internet Research, Vol. 34 No. 4, pp. 1198-1218. https://doi.org/10.1108/INTR-08-2022-0669

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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