this paper describes a small empirical study aimed at attempting to give an answer to the question: “will virtual reality provide a substitute for the tourism product”? It identifies that the development of VR (virtual reality) [1] has enormous potential both for the companies that operate in the tourism sector and for the consumers of their services. It applied the methodology of hypothesis testing using two distinct sample groups: VR researchers who develop and program VR systems, and a cross section of the general public. The findings seem to suggest that virtual holidays are not perceived as an adequate and suitable alternative to ‘real’ holidays, but have the potential to provide a complement to them. They also show that virtual holidays could play an important role for the disabled and elderly holidaymakers. Several other potential advantages were identified. It is important to reiterate that this was only a small experimental study, but an analysis of its limitations could point the way for further research in this area.