As all other countries in the world, the Faroe Islands has felt the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Early on during the global crisis, we 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 created a new remote tourism tool, the first of its kind. Via a mobile, tablet or PC, virtual visitors could explore the Faroes’ rugged mountains, see close-up our cascading waterfalls and spot the traditional grass-roofed houses by interacting – live – with a local Faroese, who acted as their eyes and body on a virtual exploratory tour.
The local was equipped with a live video camera, allowing people to not only see views from an on-the-spot perspective, but also to control where and how they explored using a joypad to turn, walk, run or even jump!
Just like a real-life computer game, the main player controlled the moves of the Faroese islander, who not only explored locations on foot, but also took 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, our team at Visit Faroe Islands were online in real time to answer any questions that people had, providing both inspiration and expert knowledge about places to visit and things to see.
We hoped that visiting our remote islands through the eyes and body of a local would bring joy and inspiration during the challenging times – and we, of course, hoped to welcome visitors in person once travel was recommended and safe again.
The first of 22 tours took place on 15 April and the last 17 June, two days after the Faroe Islands re-opened for tourists from neighbouring countries.