Visit Faroe Islands on Remote Tourism

At the #DTTT, we have followed the evolution of the Faroe Islands, which has been as unique as their campaigns.

At the #DTTT, we have followed the evolution of the Faroe Islands, which has been as unique as their campaigns. It is a destination that went from a low level of awareness to leading the industry in innovation.

At the #DTTT, we have followed the evolution of the Faroe Islands, which has been as unique as their campaigns. It is a destination that went from a low level of awareness to leading the industry in innovation.

The #DTTT hosted a live chat with Levi Hanssen from Visit Faroe Islands to find out more about their new Remote Tourism initiative that's taken the world by storm and put the Faroe Islands on the map. Here are the key takeaways:

Evolution and Innovation are pivotal to Destination Strategy

The Faroe Islands is a unique location in the world, however, not many people are aware of its exact location. Visit Faroe Islands decided something must be done about this, so its first priority in 2012 was raising awareness via the media. The Faroe Islands were not on Google Street View, so the Faroese people created their own version “Sheep View” equipping Faroese sheep with 360-degree cameras. Where there's a wool, there’s a way! This campaign was so well received around the world, it prompted Google to map the Faroe Islands a few weeks later.

As a result of the media coverage, visitor numbers to the Faroe Islands increased and many wanted to learn the Faroese language. At the time, Google Translate did not feature the language, so Visit Faroe Islands developed Farose Translate on their website, using Faroese volunteers to live-translate words or sentences for free. It was another successful campaign in raising awareness and led to an influx of tourists.

Not all the locals were happy about this invasion, which began the next evolution of Visit Faroe Islands campaign, Voluntourism.Unlike other campaigns, this campaign focused on Marketing and development. Closing the island for maintenance, but giving back to the local community by being open for volunteers to work on preservation projects. Over 10,000 signed up in 24 hours, meaning that the Faroe Islands were well and truly on the map.

But what was coming next? Notably one of the best industry responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, Virtual Remote Tourism. It was a spontaneous campaign, but it works well because it's relevant and addresses the current situation. With a computer game feel, it allows virtual visitors to control a real life guide from home, and travel around the Faroe Islands as a virtual tourist. It gives virtual visitors a really fun and interactive travel experience, whilst showcasing the Faroe Islands unique USPs. As one of the highlights of 2020, it has generated vast international media coverage and adulation.

Visit Faroe Islands evolution has made them the leaders of industry innovation. Every DMO should follow the Faroe Islands example and incorporate evolution and innovation into their strategy and campaigns. In the current climate, it is really important to stay creative, relevant and top of mind for visitors, something that Visit Faroe Islands do very well with every campaign. They are truly a best practise is destination transformation.

Destinations must see the Value in Tourism

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for the industry. For DMOs and businesses, it has had an immediate operational impact. There’s been massive losses across the industry and now DMOs are working behind the scenes to influence the government to put support packages in place. For destinations, there’s no visitors, no revenue and no clear exit strategy. With travel postponed worldwide, it has had a devastating impact on the industry. From job losses to businesses closing, the impact has been felt worldwide.

At the #DTTT, we have heard directly from the industry about the challenges DMOs and local businesses are facing. For many in the industry, it has meant rethinking their strategy to adapt to these uncertain times. It is now that there is no tourism, that the true value of tourism must be recognised, not just for the economic benefits, but how it has transformed the lives of local communities, and allowed destinations to improve and thrive.

For Destinations it is a time to Give Back

For many destinations their narrative and strategy has changed. Their prime concerns pre COVID-19 were sustainability and over tourism, but now they must change their approach and messaging. Destinations with no visitors must entice them back by staying top of mind and planning an effective recovery strategy. Visitors have given a lot to destinations and now it's the turn of the destinations to give back during the recovery period.

Visit Faroe Islands is giving back through its Voluntourism initiative, and also by keeping people entertained at home with their remote tourism initiative. Many destinations are now offering more virtual content and online experiences, reaching out to those who are unable to travel. As well as keeping people entertained at home, destinations are giving back by being a trusted source of public information.

Stay Top of Mind by creating a Unique Travel Experience

For Visit Faroe Islands, the remote tourism idea was already in place, but the COVID-19 pandemic encouraged them to move forward with this strategy. It meant reacting quickly, doing a lot of research and implementing the idea with their creative agency. Moving away from expensive films that are the standard for most destinations, Visit Faroe Islands chose the think outside of the box and created a unique travel experience that would ensure the destination stays top of mind for visitors.

From the #DTTT’s perspective, it is a great example of gamification. This digital experience gives people the opportunity to see the Faroe Islands in a new way and control what they see and how they see it. The interactive element allows people to ask questions and interact with their guide in real time.

From the technical side, it is relatively simple, using a couple of Iphones and live streaming through Facebook Live, while guides walk through villages. The important thing for Visit Faroe Islands is what they are bringing to people at home. It has generated worldwide media coverage and attracted nearly 50,000 unique users from 108 different countries. The remote tourism initiative is due to run for ten days but as it has been so popular, it may be continued.

Promoting a Safety and Local Tourism are the first steps to Recovery

For Visit Faroe Islands, their short term strategy is working on a campaign to get local Faroses to travel around on their own country. This is due to be launched in May. The Faroe Islands have reported no new cases of COVID-19 since 6 April, so they are planning to slowly open up and get the economy running again. They see value in getting people to travel locally, and have shifted their strategy to promote domestic tourism.

In terms of recovery, the #DTTT’s perspective is that every DMO should promote a safe destination, highlighting natural areas and spaces. This will appeal to many who are social distancing. Travel will restart through local tourism, therefore destinations need to adapt their offering to appeal to the local community.

As destinations plan recovery, we look to a leading innovator in the industry, Visit Faroe Islands and wonder what will they do next? They have dealt with key industry issues such as awareness, sustainability, over tourism and a global crisis really effectively, using creativity and combining marketing and development.They are a best practice example for any DMO who wants to transform their destination, and will no doubt have a strong recovery.  

Key Takeaways

Published on:
May 2020
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