Remote control tourism: taking virtual travel to new heights

Siobháin Spear
Apr 26, 2020

Faroe Islands introduces remote control travel experiences to personalize virtual tourism.

Blurring the lines between video gaming and adventure travel, the Faroe Islands has taken tourism into its own hands — or rather, placed it into the hands of grounded travellers around the world. While virtual opera experiences, live wildlife cams and #StayCurious adventures have popped up all over the world, the Faroe Islands has taken remote tourism a step further with the introduction of local tours that add a very human touch and feel to your travel-from-home adventures.

Not only does its new virtual experience align with social-distancing measures, but it also fits perfectly into the self-governing nation’s sustainable tourism strategy to preserve the nature and distinct landscapes of the North Atlantic archipelago. In a first-of-its-kind adventure, you can connect with local Faroese, who will act as your eyes, ears and body as you roam around the islands without leaving your house.

Remote tourism

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

“Now that we don’t have any tourists … we have a lot of extra time on our hands,” said Guðrið Højgaard, the CEO of Visit Faroe Islands.

The Faroe Islands, a part of the Kingdom of Denmark, started to think about remote tourism in the early stages of travel restrictions coming into effect. Thinking about how to take virtual tourism a step further, Visit Faroe Islands conceptualized an idea that would allow virtual tourists to control the movements of a local Faroese insider in real time. Then, they made it a reality.

Sharing the story behind the project, the tourism board said: “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”.

A taste of remote-controlled adventure

During the virtual tours, curious travellers can control the movements of the local Faroese tour guides, who wears a plastic safety helmet mounted with a GoPro to show you their first-hand views.

Guðrið Højgaard also shared how virtual tourists would have the opportunity to control not only the path of a person, but even a boat and a helicopter.

Eager to take part in a remote tourism experience? Having conducted 10 days of virtual tours, the Faroe Islands has announced that it will continue to stream remote tours on Wednesdays at 18:00 GMT+1. You can tune in via the Visit Faroe Islands Facebook page or visit the website for more.

Seeking more adventures while you stay home? Explore these travel-inspired activities from the comfort of your own home.