Within 24 hours of registration opening for the 2020 initiative, 5,886 voluntourists had signed up to be part of the Faroe Islands’ Maintenance Crew project. The figure represents 2,000 more people than took part in the 2019 project.
People from 95 different countries applied to take part in the 2020 effort to preserve this remote nation in the North Atlantic.
With just 100 places available for the 2020 project, the latest round of registrations saw 510 applications from the UK and 1,291 from the USA.
Applications came from volunteers as young as 18 and as old as 77.
“We are yet again delighted by the incredible amount of people willing to give up their own precious time to come and help us,” says Guðrið Højgaard, Director at Visit Faroe Islands.
“We are so thankful to everyone who has signed up and pledged their support and, although we’re unable to host everyone for 2020’s Closed for Maintenance, Open for Voluntourism project, we plan to continue these initiatives on an annual basis over the years to come.”
The archipelago ran its first-ever Closed for Maintenance, Open for Voluntourism, campaign in April 2019 when the Maintenance Crew worked alongside locals to preserve 10 locations across the islands, maintaining and creating hiking pathways and viewing areas, and setting up signposting.
For 2020, some 14 popular tourist sites will be closed to the general public on 16 and 17 of April 2020, with projects identified by local municipalities, tourism centres and local villagers.
These include Slættaratindur, the highest mountain in the Faroe Islands, where the last stretch of the hike to the top is currently difficult to climb safely. An alternative route will be signposted and maintained by the voluntourists over the closure weekend.The 100 volunteers will be chosen at random from the applications received.
Participants will receive free accommodation, food and transport on the islands over the three-night maintenance period (15-17 April). They will work alongside 40 Faroe Islanders.