When you think of the Faroe Islands, the word remote springs to mind, and that’s probably the reason why more than 700,000 people decided to experience its charms via a virtual visit over the past six weeks.
With social distancing in place, the concept of remoteness has never been more in vogue. And when you think of the word remote, one of the first places that pop up in people’s minds is the Faroe Islands.
The last time we featured the islands, it was to announce it was closing due to essential maintenance. For this feature, we find it closed again but this time, for entirely different reasons. However, there is some light at the end of the tunnel.
About the Faroe Islands
The Faroe Islands is a self-governing group of 18 islands which comes under the Kingdom of Denmark. It has a land area of around 1,400 km2 and a population of 52,000. Amazingly, it has more sheep living on the island than people!
On the 15th April 2020, the island introduced a remote tourism tool and in just six weeks, had a staggering 700,000 virtual visitors. This is truly amazing when you consider that in 2019, the number of actual visitors to the eighteen islands was approximately 130,000.
The virtual visitors to the Faroe Islands hailed from almost 200 countries with Americans and Russians leading the way and Brits, Italians and Ukrainians rounding out the top five.
One of the most exciting features of the Faroes Islands remote tourism tool is the opportunity to control a Faroese guide. More than a 1,000 people utilised this feature, exploring the island nation via remote control and live video streaming.
If you’re wondering how you control a guide remotely, it’s quite simple. Phones, tablets and PC’s become a joypad, and apparently, users can virtually control the guide with requests to turn, run, walk and even jump around the island during an hour-long tour.
This does sound a little worrying when you consider the islands stunning cliffs and the choppy seas. Fortunately, users can only control the virtual-guide for a minute at a time and hopefully, the guides have a say in what’s requested!
Virtual exploration of the islands isn’t just available on foot. The tourism board also provided the option to explore this remote haven by helicopter, which gave an incredible birds-eye perspective and by boat and even horseback!
The lifting of visitor restrictions
From the 15th June, the islands will begin the first phase of its reopening. Initially, visitors from Germany, Denmark, Greenland and Norway will be able to come to the islands without the need to self-quarantine.
To head to the Faroe Islands as a virtual tourist and experience it through a local’s eyes, go to remote-tourism.com.
The Faroe Island tours take place every Wednesday at 6 pm (UK time) until 17 June.
Read more travel features in our dedicated section here.
The photography used in this article was taken by Kirstin Vang.