If the pandemic prevented us from traveling, technology came to the rescue with virtual tours. Yet, the Faroe Islands took it one step further.
As governments worldwide started implementing lockdowns and travel restrictions, virtual tours became all the rage. In fact, according to Google Trends, searches for the term saw a steep increase this March. Museums and travel agencies seized the opportunity, but the Faroe Islands’ tourism board went the extra mile, developing an engaging online adventure called Remote Tourism.
It looks like a video game, but it is not. This groundbreaking virtual experience allows users around the world to remotely control a tour guide, who will walk, ride a Faroe pony, or sail the unspoiled Atlantic archipelago between Iceland and Scotland. Every trip is different and lasts for about an hour, while users take turns in directing the guide for one minute each.
Faroe Islanders are not new to technological gimmicks. In 2016, they petitioned to be included in Google Street View, and just a year later, they launched their Sheep View project, a unique mapping system that used cameras mounted on the backs of sheep. That eventually granted them a presence in Google’s service. This time, however, they used the technology much more interactively.
All tours are led by Visit Faroe Islands staffers, who are fitted with cameras and earphones to listen to the commands. On the other side, users-visitors are equipped with controllers on the display of their phones. “When you press forward, we move forward. When you press left, we turn left. And when you press jump, well, we jump,” said Guðrið Højgaard, director of Visit Faroe Islands.
“We wondered what we could do to recreate a Faroe Islands experience for all these people that had to cancel or postpone their trip,” said Levi Hanssen, content and communications manager of Visit Faroe Islands. “It is very surreal to know that you’re walking around here, being controlled by someone on their sofa or even on the toilet. Who knows where they are.”
Faroe Islands: Remote Tourism
Each trip lasts an hour, and people can take turns to control the guide for one minute each.