If you happened to be driving into Delhi from Noida last month, as the city got set to host the G20 summit, you must have been welcomed by a brightly lit, larger-than-life statue of Gautam Buddha. And in December last year, G20 delegates in Mumbai were greeted by the facades of Gateway of India and the Taj Mahal hotel being all decked up in neon colours.
Similarly, tourists may want to take a trip to the Andamans to experience the history of the Cellular Jail — where many of India’s freedom fighters were imprisoned during the British rule — and see the same fighters’ likenesses being displayed on the jail walls. Or to Ajmer, where the town’s story is depicted with the historic King Edward Memorial as an imposing backdrop.
Those more religious minded can see spiritual sermons narrated on the façade of the Statue of Belief — the tallest Shiva statue in the world — at Nathdwara, Rajasthan.
All these visual treats are being engineered through Barco projection mapping technology. “Through our products, we create immersive experiences and show an interesting way of telling the story visually,” said Rajeeva Lochan Sharma, managing director, Barco India.
The global projection mapping market is currently worth around $3 billion in 2023 and is set to reach $10 billion by 2028, according to Mordor Intelligence.
"In India, around 75-80% of Barco’s immersive experience projects come from the government", said Mainak Sengupta, national sales head, proAV/events, Barco India. What’s more, this will only rise further, with elections in several states coming up this year and the Lok Sabha polls due next year. With these in mind, governments are keen on beautifying cities with new projects at heritage sites and statues.
An increase in tourism budgets also presents further opportunities. Showcasing the cultural heritage of the city via projection mapping is an intriguing way to narrate a story and attract tourist’s attention. Across the world, whether New York’s glitzy Times Square or the Ginza Tower in Tokyo, high-tech light and sound shows attract a large number of spectators. “These are places that have become tourist destinations, coupled with food, drink and leisure,” said Tanmoy Chakrabarty, founder and director, Chakrabarty Consulting Services.
"The growing appeal of such shows makes this a huge business opportunity for Indian cities as well," he added. "Especially given we have 6,000 years of history to tap into. The stories and themes from Indian history can be presented creatively, while our monuments and new infrastructure can prove to be ideal canvasses for these visualization technologies."
Sharma concluded: "In today’s dynamic world, technology plays a pivotal role in reshaping the tourism sector. Through innovative solutions and immersive experiences, we are proud to be at the forefront of bridging the gap between cultures & destinations in ways previously unimaginable."
The original version of this article was first published in The Economic Times.