Museums, cultural institutions, and destinations around the world have been using virtual tours as a way to connect with visitors while on lockdown. But one surprising locale might have created the best one of all.
The Faroe Islands, a remote archipelago in the North Atlantic ocean, launched a VR experience last week where you can view not only the incredible scenery, but also control your tour guide. Yes, the local guide is wearing a helmet camera while traversing across different terrain like the volcanic mountains and quaint towns of the Danish territory. Each tour lasts an hour, and viewers can take turns on the controller for a minute, each like a video game.
“If you ask them to go left, they go left. If you ask them to jump, they jump. If you ask them to run, they run,” said tourist board spokesman Levi Hanssen. “You’re sort of steering this person and deciding what you want to see and where you want this person to go.”
He added, “It’s very surreal to know that you’re walking around here in the Faroe Islands being controlled by someone on their sofa or even on the toilet. Who knows where they are,” he said.
In addition to exploring on foot, the tour guide will also explore via helicopter to give a bird’s eye perspective of the grassy landscapes, 80,000 sheep, and unspoiled natural countryside. The team at Visit Faroe Islands will be online in real-time to answer any questions as well.
“We hope that visiting our remote islands through the eyes and body of a local can bring joy and inspiration during these challenging times—and we, of course, hope to welcome visitors in person once all are free to travel again,” reads the website.
Almost 50,000 people joined the first four-hour-long tour. The free virtual tours, which broadcast on the tourist board’s website and its Facebook and Instagram accounts, will take place once or twice daily until April 25, potentially longer.