Catalina Island's been on a hot streak with tourism (visitor counts and sales tax revenues are nudging close to record numbers), but it's hoping to cement its popularity for years to come by making some big changes inside the Avalon Casino—a move aimed at attracting a younger crowd to the locale. What do Millennials even like in a travel destination? The owners of the casino, the Catalina Island Company, are wagering that the answer is holograms, and they're planning to convert the handsome casino's inside into an "immersive attraction" that employs holograms to provide virtual tours of the island and "live" (hologram) concerts, says the LA Times.
The breathtaking Art Deco interior of the casino—opened by gum magnate and early Catalina developer William Wrigley Jr. in 1929—will remain unaltered, but there would be plenty of new things to see with the reno. The new attractions inside would rely on "holographic projection systems, robotic cameras and high-definition display technology" to offer visitors the chance to take aerial, underwater, or historic tours of the island, all without leaving the casino. The building's ballroom would also host "life-size" concerts from a wide variety of acts that aren't physically, actually there, "including swing bands and rappers." (Will the Tupac hologram make an appearance?)
The Catalina Island Company, which owns most of the land on the island, is working with a San Francisco-based virtual reality company called Obscura to put the new attraction together. Obscura's engineers say they might even think up ways for guests to have a martini at the casino's bar with the apparition of Marilyn Monroe or other similar stars. "William Wrigley Jr. would have been be delighted to know that his elegant casino is a perfect fit for hologram projectors and mega-pixel technology," the president of the Catalina Island Company tells the Times.
A rep for the virtual reality company says they're hoping to have all the new additions done speedily at the casino, which has seen its popularity decline for years, and where no actual gambling even happens anymore. The theater reboot (where hologram bands will play) is expected to be finished by early 2016 with other additions going in in phases as soon as possible.
· Holograms could soon help boost Catalina Island's revival [LAT]