United Nations headquarters: Virtual tours now available for a fee

Virtual tours to the UN Headquarters in New York are being offered to the general public amid the COVID-19 pandemic, said the UN Visitors Services on Tuesday.

By taking a virtual tour with one of the multilingual UN tour guides, participants will go on a live journey through the organisation’s history with a focus on the current work of its principal organs, learning how the United Nations addresses issues such as disarmament, peace and security, development, and human rights, said the UN Visitors Services in a press release.

Through this interactive experience, the online visitors will also be able to admire the famous General Assembly Hall and the Security Council Chamber, as well as some of the works of art decorating the inside of the UN Headquarters, it said.

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The virtual tours are currently being offered to groups and can be combined with a briefing by an expert speaker on a UN-related topic.

While each tour is tailored to the individual groups with the tour guide happy to address specific questions and topics, the UN Visitors Services has also created an online tour specifically for younger children.

This virtual UN Kids tour introduces students to the Sustainable Development Goals and encourages them to become global citizens and take action, said the press release.

“At a time like this, the importance of learning about international cooperation and the role of the United Nations is more important than ever,” says Elisabeth Waechter, chief of the UN Visitors Services, in the press release.

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According to the UN Visitor Centre website, a 60-minute UN virtual tour costs 200 U.S. dollars.

The recommended group size is 20-30 people.

A 90-120 minute virtual tour plus an online briefing costs 300 dollars.

As New York City slowly emerges from lockdown with outdoor dining and physical distancing measures, the UN Visitor Centre is beginning preparations to be able to once again welcome visitors to the UN Headquarters, while ensuring all health and safety recommendations are followed, said the press release.

The UN Headquarters in New York was shut down to the general public and guided tours were suspended in mid-March.

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The UN Visitor Centre says approximately 1 million visitors from around the world came to visit the United Nations every year before the pandemic.