Self-piloted drone flights launched for Singapore travellers to visit Shizuoka, Japan

Travel-deprived Singaporeans can now take a virtual trip to the scenic Shizuoka prefecture to soak in breathtaking views of the magnificent Mount Fuji – by flying a drone remotely.

During the current pandemic downtime, the Shizuoka Prefectural Singapore Rep. Office worked with companies in Singapore and Shizuoka to introduce innovative hybrid travel products as a new form of travel mode to spark wanderlust and stimulate inbound travel demand.

This writer trying her hand at operating a drone flight at the Mount Fuji Drone Challenge in Asagiri event

One such new virtual exploration deploys the creative use of cross-border self-piloted drone flights, which the media and travel industry personnel got to experience first-hand at a recent Mount Fuji Drone Challenge in Asagiri event.

The location was chosen as a symbolic icon to connect Singapore to Japan, in celebration of 55 years of Singapore-Japan relations.

Generally, a drone operator needs to be on-site to fly it, with an operational range between 2-3 km from the user. This new drone remote control technology over the internet enables the operator to fly a drone remotely, even thousands of kilometres away.

During the session held in Singapore, participants were also given a virtual tour of the Asagiri Food Park, located at the foot of Mount Fuji in Shizuoka prefecture. They also tried their hand at creating their personalised blend using Shizuoka’s famous green tea via a livestream demo, and even visited a sake store virtually.

Apart from drone flying at the certified airfield, Asagiri Food Park also offers various unique hands-on activities for visitors.

Wataru Fukuda, chief representative of the Shizuoka Prefectural Government Representative Office in Singapore, told TTG Asia that the session to demonstrate the possibility of remote drone flights as a new virtual travel experience is part of the organisation’s efforts to continue engaging travel agents in Singapore to ensure the destination remains top-of-mind once tours to Japan is possible in the future.

He also proposed to travel agents who attended the session about staging such hybrid events at a future NATAS Travel Fair for Singapore travellers to not only experience Shizuoka prefecture but also the whole of Japan.

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