Sustainable strategy for the Faroe Islands

by Laura Gelder

Visit Faroe Islands has a new development strategy designed to preserve the nation’s distinct nature and culture while tourism evolves in a responsible and sustainable manner leading up to 2025.

The tourist board, which represents 18 remote and rugged islands in the North Atlantic, has coined the phrase ‘preservolution’ to describe its sustainable solution to potential overtourism problems, combining preservation and evolution.

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 firmly at its focal point. We see this mission as our utmost responsibility, both for the benefit of those living on the islands now and for the generations to come – and our work needs to start now.”

The new sustainable tourism development strategy is shaped by four key cornerstones: Quality over quantity, such as limiting the size and number of cruise ships; encouraging tourism to be equally shared among all 18 islands, year-round; knowledge and professionalism, for example, helping to prepare locals working in tourism for their role as ambassadors; and a common legislative framework, with key initiatives including the introduction of a Nature Preservation Fee which all visitors will be asked to pay.

One of the organisation’s first initiatives was launched last month (February), when it announced that 10 of the most popular visitor sites on the islands would be closed to tourists for a weekend in April unless they wanted to apply to help with voluntary maintenance projects. In 24 hours over 1,000 people  applied.

The Faroes’ Maintenance Crew (with 100 participants from 25 countries) will be working with local volunteers, doing things like creating hiking pathways and setting up signposting. The aim is to repeat and expand upon this idea each year if it works well.

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