Tourism is the third largest export industry on the Faroe Islands. Since 2011, the tourism turnover has risen by 90% percent, and since the beginning of 2017, the rising number of tourists has helped increase employment in the hotel and restaurant industry by 35%. Tourism, therefore, is a vital industry for employment and the economy on the Faroe Islands.
As happened worldwide in March 2020, the Faroe Island tourist industry was badly hit and had to close down all travel and tourist activities due to Covid-19.
Visit Faroe Islands immediately had to cancel peak season and ask all guests to indefinitely postpone their journeys. This left Visit Faroe Islands with one huge challenge:
How to create a global interest in the Faroe Islands so that visitors would promptly return once the world opened again?
The task at hand was to market a shut down country to the rest of the world, having a media budget of 0 kroner.
To reach a segment all isolated in their own homes across the globe, Visit Faroe Islands needed a digital solution enabling a virtual and interactive taste of Faroe Islands directly into people’s quarantined homes.
A mere 10 days after the official closure of the world, the system was developed and the campaign ready for launch. Using a hybrid fusion of old school arcade games and high tech VR experiences, Visit Faroe Islands allowed virtual tourists to experience Faroe Islands in real time by land, water, and air, while the remainder of the world’s tourist activities were at a standstill.
As the complete media budget of the campaign was 0 kroner, the platform ”remotetourism.com” was to be marketed 100% via earned media. The launch consisted of a press release and a film on the digital channels of Visit Faroe Islands. Meanwhile, reporters and influencers were invited to participate in online media travels, giving them the opportunity to control guides for a longer period and to share the experience with their readers and followers.
The virtual tourist travels took place several times a day during the closure and the visitors could alternately steer the guide into the Faroese landscapes, into museums and other attractions. The trips took place by foot, by horse, by mountain bike, by boat, even by helicopter.
During the travels, it was possible to ask questions to the remote controlled guides, and all could follow along on Facebook and Instagram Live, and chat to Visit Faroe Islands. By the help of reporters and influencers, news of Visit Faroe Islands organically spread on social media and reached international news media.
- In six weeks Faroe Islands had 900,000 virtual visits by tourists from 157 different countries.
- Average view time on Facebook was 4,11 minutes, which is 2,500% above Facebook’s tourism video benchmark.
- On average, more than 20,000 people followed along every single trip on Facebook.
- 1,88% commented, shared, or liked, which is 1,600% above Facebook’s benchmark.
- According to Associated Press, 14 days after launch the story was the most spoken of tourism news worldwide, having gained 500 articles in media such as CNN, New York Times, The Guardian, National Geographic, and Vanity Fair.
- The news story reached an online readership of 5,65 billion. Via influencers, the story reached an additional 40,3 million on social media. In all, the campaign achieved press mention worth 212 million kroner.
- Faroe Islands had 6 times as many virtual visitors as physical guests in all of 2019.
- 14 days after the reopening of Faroe Islands, all hotels were sold out for the summer of 2020.
The campaign succeeded in maintaining tourist interest in Faroe Islands, until once again they were open for tourists. It gave roughly 1 million people a unique, virtual experience of Faroe Islands, an experience no other travel destination was able to offer in the same period.
Since the last trip took place, the remote tourism platform has been honourably mentioned in both Danish and international professional media – recently, the campaign was one of the topics at the ”Harvard X Design” conference, March 2021.
Do you want to know more?
Contact Rune Hørslev
Phone: +45 31 34 57 69