Virtual Tourism takes off in the Faroe Islands

More than 700,000 tourists have ‘visited’ the islands in the past six weeks - six times the number of in-person visitors the country had in 2019.

Tourists from 197 countries have experienced the Faroe Islands during lockdown, due to the nation’s Remote Tourism tool.

The project, launched on April 15, 2020, offers 60-minute virtual tours, and has given more than 1,000 participants the opportunity to ‘control’ a Faroese tour guide while they explore the island nation through a live video camera.

Director of Visit Faroe Islands Guðrið Højgaard said he was delighted by the response to Remote Tourism, and believed the experience offered a welcome break for those self-isolating at home.

Using their phone or tablet, the virtual visitors are each given one minute to control the guide, and can request for them to turn, walk, run and jump during the tour. Locations have been explored on foot, on horseback, by boat and by helicopter.

“We have loved watching how people haven’t held back when ‘taking control’,” said Højgaard. “Our guides have certainly been put through their paces and kept fit!”

The Visit Faroe Islands’ tourism board said it also received strong engagement through their Facebook and Instagram, where the public asked questions about what to see and do on the islands during the live tours.

The top country to use the Remote Tourism tool is the USA, with more than 54,000 visitors. Other countries include Russia, Italy, the Ukraine and the UK. Combined, the total number of virtual visitors is more than six times the 130,000 in-person tourists the island nation received in 2019.

The virtual tourism scheme was launched by Visit Faroe Islands in April, after the Faroese Government imposed travel restrictions due to COVID-19. The tours run once a week at 6pm on Wednesdays, and are due to finish on June 17.

Residents of Denmark, Iceland, Germany, Norway and Greenland will be permitted to visit the Faroe Islands without being required to self-quarantine from June 15, but visitors must present proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within five days prior to travel.

Travellers from other countries are currently being discouraged from visiting the islands.

There have been 187 reported cases of COVID-19 in the Faroes, and the country is one of only three in Europe to have no deaths from the coronavirus. Approximately 20% of the population has been tested for the coronavirus, with no new cases recorded since April.

To take a virtual tour of the Faroe Islands, visit: remote-tourism.com

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