Manchester Metropolitan University's Research Repository

    The Influence of Virtual Reality on Religious Digital Cultural Heritage

    Hwang, Kyunghwa, tom Dieck, Mandy, Jung, Timothy ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8594-6641 and Kwon, Ohbyung (2023) The Influence of Virtual Reality on Religious Digital Cultural Heritage. Internet Research. ISSN 1066-2243 (In Press)

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    Purpose: The purpose of this study is to propose an expanded experience economy model and to explore if this model provides a better understanding of the process of growing continuance intention of religious digital cultural heritage and intention to visit the cultural heritage site. In particular, it examines whether spiritual experiences influence the evaluation of religious digital cultural heritage comparing a virtual reality (VR) to a web-based experience. Design/methodology/approach: In this study, a representative destination of religious cultural heritage, Jerusalem, was chosen as an example for the application. 292 participants 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 which was analysed using path analysis and multi-group analysis. Findings: The results suggest that the spiritual experience mediates Pine and Gilmore's (1998) four experiences and the continuance intention. It was also found that intellectual awareness about religious cultural heritage is the factor that strengthens the spiritual experience, and that spiritual experience is an important variable mediating educational and aesthetic experiences and the successful use of VR and Web. Additionally, experiencing VR strengthened the influence of spiritual experiences on the continuance use of virtual heritage and visits to actual religious heritage than using the Web. Originality/value: The originality of this study lies in the exploration of the use of digital technologies for the exploration of spiritual experiences, utilizing an expanded experience economy model as a theoretical foundation. The comparison of web-based and VR experiences provides important implications for destination marketers in terms of promoting destinations online to create actual visit intentions in the future.

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    6 month trend

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