Sunday, 3 May 2020

Lessons from Faroe Islands, Absolute Kings of Remote Tourism in Corona Era

May 3, 2020 - As technology advances, the world is getting more egalitarian, and different countries are finding different solutions. Meet the absolute winners of current tourism promotion in the non-travel corona era - the Faroe Islands.

The world is changing at a breathtaking pace at the moment, and who knows where we will end up. One thing that appears to be certain, however, is the importance of technology and the digital opportunities it offers for remote work. 


Some time ago, Croatian entrepreneur tweeted that 'technology enables the smart guys to catch up with the rich guys,' with Rimac Automobili CEO Mate Rimac cited as such an example in this retweet, above. 

But technology also levels the playing field between David and Goliath when countries are faced with the same challenges. Vietnam has produced an outstanding response to the health threats of COVID-19, for example, while the United States' response has been a disaster. And little Croatia had arguably the best health response to the crisis in Europe. 

As with corona, so too the challenges of promoting tourism in the corona era.

Lots of ideas have been put forward, lots of identical 'Stay Home, Travel Later' videos are appearing, but NOTHING quite like this. 

Absolute genius from the little guy once more. According to media reports, the Faroe Islands had about 60,000 tourists in 2018, as well as 50,000 cruise ship tourists. 

Now meet the genius campaign of the Faroe Islands to keep their tourism story moving in an era where nobody is travelling. Launched on April 15, 2020, between 20,000 and 40,000 people took part in these virtual tours in the first 10 days, according to the Faroe Islands Tourist Board. 

So what's it all about? In their own words (and video):

As all other countries in the world, the Faroe Islands has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. We have politely asked tourists to refrain from visiting our islands until further notice.

Early on in this global crisis, we sat and wondered how we could recreate a Faroe Islands’ experience for those who had to cancel or postpone their trip to the Faroe Islands – and for everyone else stuck in insolation around the world.

We had an idea. What if we could allow people anywhere in the world to explore the islands as virtual tourists through the eyes of a local? Or even better; what if the virtual tourists could control the movements of the local in real time?

A couple of weeks later, our idea became reality. We have created a new remote tourism tool, the first of its kind. Via a mobile, tablet or PC, you can explore the Faroes’ rugged mountains, see close-up its cascading waterfalls and spot the traditional grass-roofed houses by interacting – live – with a local Faroese, who will act as your eyes and body on a virtual exploratory tour.

The local is equipped with a live video camera, allowing you to not only see views from an on-the-spot perspective, but also to control where and how they explore using a joypad to turn, walk, run or even jump!

Just like a real-life computer game, you – the main player – will control the moves of the Faroese islander, who will not only explore locations on foot, but also take to the skies by helicopter, giving virtual visitors a bird’s eye perspective on our beautiful island nation’s steep grassy slopes, our 80,000 sheep and our unspoilt, wild and natural countryside.

During the virtual tours, which will take place daily during the COVID-19 lockdown, our team at Visit Faroe Islands will be online in real time to answer any questions that you or others may have, providing both inspiration and expert knowledge about places to visit and things to see.

We hope that visiting our remote islands through the eyes and body of a local can bring you joy and inspiration during these challenging times – and we, of course, hope to welcome you in person once you are free to travel again.

You can learn more about the Remote Tourism project on the Faroe Islands (and sign up for the next tour) on the official website.

For more on tourism, visit the dedicated TCN channel

Friday, 10 November 2017

On Islands, Sheep, and Google Street View

Two very different destinations, two common traits they share