World Tourism Day is an annual celebration that takes place on September 27th. This year Lithuania’s capital Vilnius has prepared a modern art production for the occasion— a digital 3D sculpture depicting a hot air balloon, which is a meaningful symbol for the tourism sector in Vilnius, because it was used to celebrate the re-opening of the city to tourists after the first COVID-19 induced lockdown. The installation, initiated by Go Vilnius, the official tourism and business development agency of Vilnius, has been created using the increasingly popular Non-Fungible Token (NFT) and contains photographs of more than 100 representatives from Lithuania’s tourism sector.
According to the director of Go Vilnius, Inga Romanovskienė, the sculpture was created to congratulate city’s tourism specialists as well as to reflect their hope that the tourism sector will once again flourish and grow, as it did before the pandemic. For this reason, the installation was named “Rising Vilnius.”
The installation was made using the increasingly popular NFT format, which provides copyright ownership. According to Milk, the creative agency behind the project, this is the first time in the world that NFT was used to celebrate the tourism sector.
A hot air balloon has a special significance to the Lithuanian capital, as Vilnius is one of the few European capitals that permits its flight over the city. The hot air balloon depicted in the sculpture is also supposed to reference the opening of the city to tourists after the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. During that time, an air balloon carrying the message “Vilnius is calling” flew across the city, signaling the capital of Lithuania was once again welcoming travellers.
“We wanted to create a sculpture to celebrate all of the dedicated people who work in the tourism sector of Vilnius’s city. The main aim was to make an installation that commemorated the hard work, dedication and unity of the city’s tourism specialists in the face of the pandemic. That’s why we decided to embody a simple card or photo collage into the digital sculpture “Rising Vilnius” and chose the hot air balloon—a symbol of rebirth and growth—for its’ foundation,” said Inga Romanovskienė.
The 3D sculpture was brought to life by the creative agency Milk. Rimantas Stanevičius, the creative director at Milk, says that NFT’s popularity has been increasing over the years, but this is the first time it was used to commemorate the tourism sector. According to Mr Stanevičius, the team at Milk was happy to be a part of this unique and one of a kind project, which also became a valuable experience.
The installation can be viewed online at risingvilnius.lt. This is not the first time that Lithuania’s capital has showcased its innovative approach—in fact, the city has been praised for its futuristic sculpture Portal and the Outdoor Café project, which was created as a way to visit cafes during the pandemic.