The second year of the Faroe Islands’ “Closed for Maintenance” scheme, which last year saw more than 3,000 people apply to spend three days repairing and refurbishing tourist facilities on the archipelago, has proved even more popular than the first.
Visit Faroe Islands reports that within 24 hours of registration opening for 100 voluntourism places, 5,886 people had applied to spend 15-17 April 2020 working at tourist sites in pristine natural settings.
The applicants came from 95 countries, including 510 from the UK and several that are thousands of miles from the North Atlantic country, such as Zimbabwe, Venezuela and Taiwan. They ranged in age from 18 to 77 years, with accountants, diplomats and film directors among their number.
“We are yet again delighted by the incredible amount of people willing to give up their own precious time to come and help us,” said Guðrið Højgaard of 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 project, we plan to continue these initiatives on an annual basis.”
The 2019 scheme was part of a wider move by the islands’ tourist board to create a sustainable future for its tourist industry. The volunteers worked alongside locals in 10 locations, maintaining and creating hiking pathways and viewing areas, and setting up signposting.
For 2020, 14 popular tourist sites will be closed to the general public for the maintenance weekend. These include the path to the top of Slættaratindur, the archipelago’s highest mountain, parts of which are difficult to climb safely and will be re-marked.
The 100 volunteers will be chosen at random this week, and will receive free accommodation, food and transport on the islands over the three-night period. They have to pay their own costs to reach the islands, however. Those who aren’t picked will be able to follow the project’s progress on Visit Faroe Islands’ website and social media accounts.
Visit visitfaroeislands.com/closed to sign up for an email alert for when registration for the 2021 scheme opens.
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