One of the most talked about destinations of 2019 are the tiny Faroe Island archipelago
Breathlessly dubbed “the new Iceland” the eighteen rugged volcanic islands have much of the rugged, untouched charm that the better known North Atlantic island once had.
Located between Iceland and Norway, the green Faroese islands are in a great position to cash-in on the Norse appeal that the prior destinations did in 2016.
Which is why the decision to close the islands “for maintenance” is such a surprise.
In the last weekend in April, the Faroe Islands will be turning away tourists.
According to the tourism board Visit Faroe Islands, accommodation and attractions will not be taking bookings.
Last year they welcomed around 100,000 visitors, attracted by the rugged cliffs, waterfalls, puffin birds and sheep-grazed tundra. Tourists already well outnumber the 50,000 islanders. They even outnumber the 80,000 sheep!
Looking westward to their neighbours, they wish to learn from the Icelandic tourism explosion before the anticipated increase of visitors does damage to their precious volcanic home.
Between 2012 and 2016 Iceland was caught unawares as visitors increased tenfold – from 500,000 to 5 million! This has done great things for the Nordic nation, but has left many areas such as accommodation and infrastructure struggling to keep up.
While the Faroes haven’t seen anything like this uptake in visitors, they wish to be prepared.
The tourism body say that though the Faroe Islands currently have no over-tourism problems, the fragile natural environment has felt the effects of an increase in visitors and needs to be protected.
To do this they have come up with a novel solution.
“Over the weekend of 26-27 April, major tourism sights in the Faroe Islands will be closed” says the statement.
The period will be used to create harder wearing paths, viewpoints and build birdlife sanctuaries to help conserve the area’s wildlife.
It’s a huge undertaking for the tiny country, and one they are looking for help with.
While the islands are closed for tourists, they will however be welcoming volunteers and visitors who wish to lend a helping hand.
By way of thanks the Faroese people will be providing volunteers “both accommodation and food over the three-night maintenance period”, free of charge.
The first 100 volunteers to sign up via the website and book their flights through airline 62N will be welcomed as part of the maintenance project.
It won’t all be hard work and no play. The project promises “a celebratory meal for all those who have helped” on Saturday the 27th April.
After which the Islands will be declared open again to visitors.
The tourism board says volunteers are “very welcome to extend your trip to the Faroe Islands” but they will be expected to pay for their food and board.
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