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Brief Published: 24 Apr 2020

The Faroe Islands Offers Interactive Real-Time Digital Tours

In mid-April, the Faroe Islands launched a first-of-its-kind digital tourism experiment that lets homebound explorers tour the archipelago remotely by directing an actual resident with a virtual game controller. It’s an attention-grabbing campaign, and one that pushes the limits of The Virtual Travel Boom.

The project is dubbed Remote Tourism – a tongue-in-cheek reference to the region’s isolated location in the Northeast Atlantic. For an hour daily until April 25, would-be visitors can join a live-streamed tour, using a digital game controller to guide a resident through the islands (they ignore any instructions that would cause them harm).

Islanders wear helmet cameras to show viewers the landscape (feasible thanks to the archipelago’s super-fast internet) and provide commentary on what’s being seen, such as where to get the best view of a location. Each remote participant can only take control for one minute – a smart choice to make the journey feel communal.

Every trip begins in a new location and showcases a different activity that tourists can engage in, such as kayaking, horseback riding or flying in a helicopter. Before each departure, participants can visit Instagram to check which activity and destination will be featured – a move that builds anticipation and references the rise of appointment viewing we note in State of Media 2020

This isn’t the first time the Faroe Islands have implemented such innovative destination marketing. As covered in Ethical Travel’s Mainstream Breakthrough, in April 2019, the archipelago closed down regular tourism for a weekend and allowed only volunteers to visit and work on essential infrastructure projects.

Both campaigns share key features that make them successful: a small number of participants, a limited timeframe, and exclusive hands-on interaction with the region’s distinctive landscape.