Destination marketing during a pandemic is hard. However beautiful the photographs of ancient buildings or pristine beaches on a destination’s website or social media channels, there is always a COVID-19 disclaimer explaining what measures a visitor must take to be allowed in, or what safety protocols are in place in each city or country. It’s a buzzkill.
While there are plenty of ways to explore foreign destinations without leaving home—for example, you can take a walk around these 30 UNESCO World Heritage sites using Google Earth—it is hard to make the experience feel personal.
Early on in the pandemic, Discover Puerto Rico introduced virtual salsa classes to prepare potential visitors to get the most out of a trip. But while the video is instructional, it is not interactive.
Iceland, however, has found an entertaining way to transport armchair tourists to its lava fields and beaches, and work out some frustration with travel restrictions at the same time.
The website Looks Like You Need Iceland lets users record a scream, or a lot of screams, and have them played in one, or all, of seven locations around the country. Video and audio of a speaker is live in a couple of spots at a time, so users can see seabirds flying over cliffs or hear the sound of the wind in wildflowers. The site will also send you an email with a video clip of the moment your scream is played across a given landscape.
This is no calming screensaver; as well as playing back your own scream, users will hear the screams of other frustrated travelers from around the world. Occasionally, even a bemused local will be surprised by the scream.
The site’s instruction to “Let It Out” is a good way to let off steam. And when you are feeling calmer, there is a section on planning a trip to Iceland to experience the scenery in person.