Faroe Islands to close for weekend of ‘maintenance’

If you were thinking of taking a meeting or incentive to the tiny Nordic nation of Faroe Islands in April, then think again, as the country is set on restricting tourism for one weekend because, according to visitfaroeislands.com, “The Faroese people are keen to keep their green islands unspoiled”.

The 18-island archipelago in the North Atlantic, halfway between Iceland and Norway, welcomes around 100,000 visitors each year, twice the total population of 50,000. In fact, there are more sheep (80,000) than people.

The move may be considered somewhat strange given that the Faroe Islands does not particularly suffer from over-tourism problems. The authorities have decided that the fragile natural environment is feeling the effects of an increase in visitors and needs a helping hand to ensure they remain pristine.

The destination, therefore, will close for maintenance but stay open for what it terms ‘voluntourism’ over the weekend of 26-28 April, 2019. The exercises will be repeated each year if it works.

Just 100 visitors will be eligible to sign up to join the Faroese Maintenance Crew and, in return for their services, they will be gifted both accommodation and food over the three-night maintenance period by the Faroese.

Projects will include creating walking paths in well-trodden areas, constructing viewpoints that help preserve nature and protect birdlife sanctuaries and erecting signs that help with wayfinding.
Guðrið Højgaard, director of Visit Faroe Islands, says: “For us, tourism is not all about numbers. We welcome visitors to the islands each year, but we also have a responsibility to our community and to our beautiful environment, and our aim is to preserve and protect the islands, ensuring sustainable and responsible growth.”

The Faroe Islands have seen a growth of approximately10% in tourists in recent years.

For more information, or to sign up to be part of the Maintenance Crew, visit www.preservefaroeislands.com

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World. Write Paul an E-mail