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The Remote Control Tourists Who Check Out The City Before You Book Your Trip

October 10, 2013 | Telepresence Options

remote tourist

Story and images by Mark Johanson / International Buiness times

Ever wish you could truly see a city through someone else's eyes, explore its streets, and check out its sights and senses before you visited? That's the aim of Melbourne's new "Remote Control Tourists," who will roam Australia's capital of culture between Oct. 9 and Oct. 13 as slaves to your Facebook and Twitter demands (hashtag #MelbourneRCT). You tell the proxies what to eat, where to go and who to talk to, and follow their every move as it's live-streamed in real time on�

Tourism Victoria enlisted four Melbourne-based actors to become its Remote Control Tourists, and fit them with helmet-mounted cameras, microphones, GPS and other mobile live-streaming technology. In theory, the quartet of bicycle-peddling, street-walking human machines will become the eyes, ears and virtual taste buds of armchair travelers the world over by providing a vicarious first-person perspective on what it's like to visit Melbourne, "the world's most livable city" and Australia's most popular destination by total visitor nights.

"To our knowledge, there has never before been any other tourism promotion where you have effectively been able to use social media to direct a person in a live environment and get live footage back immediately, particularly in such a way that you're in that moment being able to both ask questions and experience what the Remote Control Tourist is experiencing at the same time," said Tourism Victoria Chief Executive Leigh Harry.

Harry noted that each Remote Control Tourist has a team of about three to four people traveling alongside that is not featured in the live feed, including an assistant director and crowd control. The daily itinerary comes through a control center in South Melbourne where yet another team of directors and controllers analyze the Facebook and Twitter feeds and communicate back with the Remote Control Tourists.

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