The Faroe Islands, a group of autonomous islands located between Iceland and Norway and under the jurisdiction of Denmark, have come up with an innovative way to take care of their home and welcome visitors at the same time.
Following a successful pilot scheme, the islands will be rolling out another “closed for maintenance, open for voluntourism” on 16-17 April 2020. During the 2020 Maintenance days, volunteers will be provided with accommodation, food and transport although they have to pay for transportation to the Faroe Islands themselves. The working days will see projects in 14 locations across the Faroe Islands.
In spring 2019, the islands invited 100 volunteers from 25 countries to join forces with locals to lay the groundwork for a sustainable future for our unspoiled islands. The pilot project saw the temporary closure of ten popular tourist sites, with key maintenance projects identified by local municipalities, tourism centres and villagers.
Projects completed by the Maintenance Crews over the weekend included creating walking paths in well-trodden areas, constructing viewpoints to help preserve nature and protect birdlife sanctuaries, re-building ancient cairns and erecting signs and posts to aid wayfinding. The 100 volunteers stayed in villages where they met and dined with locals.
“For us, tourism is not all about numbers,” Guðrið Højgaard, Director at Visit Faroe Islands, told CNN Travel earlier this year. “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.”
Read more about how you can sign-up for 2020.