Visit Faroe Islands, the Faroese tourist board, has rolled out a new tourism strategy designed to preserve and evolve the nation’s distinct nature and culture and to help the tourism industry grow in a responsible and sustainable manner into the next decade.
Termed by Visit Faroe Islands as a Preservolution, this new perspective on tourism is a solution with preservation and evolution at its core.
Guðrið Højgaard, Director at Visit Faroe Islands, says: “This is a unique opportunity to shape an entire industry from the get-go, with the needs, desires and lifestyle of the Faroese people as its focal point. That is our utmost responsibility and we need to start now. We see this as the most important task for us as a destination and country in the years to come.”
The new sustainable tourism development strategy is shaped by four key cornerstones:
#1 Quality over quantity
Key initiatives include limiting the size and number of cruise ships allowed ashore in the Faroe Islands and taking measures to attract tourists with a strong sense of community and culture, where tourism pays better dividends to society.
#2 Tourism for all of the Faroe Islands, all year round
Key initiatives include a solution to support the nation’s smaller islands and to enable as many Faroese in as many different locations as possible to benefit from tourism all year round, and to prevent future visitor pressure points in certain locations. This will help ensure job stability and strengthen the industry’s economic durability.
#3 Knowledge and professionalisation
Key initiatives include preparing Faroese tourism operators for their role as hosts, and will ensure that they remain competitive in relation to international brands and businesses.
#4 A common legislative framework
Key initiatives include the introduction of a Nature Preservation Fee for all visitors to the islands, funds from which will go into a National Nature Preservation Foundation that will reinvest the money in sustainable and nature-preserving projects and activities across the islands.
‘Closed for Maintenance, Open for Voluntourism’
Visit Faroe Islands’ new strategy is part of the restructuring of the organisation from Destination Marketing Organisation to Destination Management Organisation. One of the organisation’s first initiatives that combines development and marketing was launched last month when the Faroe Islands called upon the world to help it maintain its treasured tourist trails.
Announcing that ten of the most popular tourist sites on the islands would be closed to tourists for a weekend in April, a small number of people could apply to visit to help with voluntary maintenance projects at these sites.
With just 100 places available, thousands of volunteers from all over the world signed up to be part of the Maintenance Crew. This far exceeded the number expected and, in just 24 hours, the “Closed for Maintenance, Open for Voluntourism” announcement had made headlines all over the world and over 1,000 people had applied. A total of 3,500 people applied within the first four days.
The Maintenance Crew will be working side-by-side with locals to preserve ten locations across the islands, maintaining and creating hiking pathways and viewing areas, and setting up signposting. The aim is to preserve the country’s nature and birdlife sanctuaries and to make the locations accessible and sustainable.
While applications for the 2019 Faroe Islands Maintenance Weekend are now closed, a report about how the projects progressed will be available in early May, and the results will be seen and enjoyed by the future visitors to the islands.
Read the Join the Preservolution strategy at www.preservolution.com.
Words: Levi Hanssen
This article was originally published on faroeislands.fo