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Photo: Visit Faroe Islands

Faroes to close to tourists for one weekend

But up to 100 volunteer visitors will be given free accommodation and meals to help the locals preserve the landscapes.

The Faroe Islands will “shut for maintenance” during the last weekend in April and instead welcome ‘voluntourists’ to help the locals clean up and preserve the islands’ natural beauty, TTG reports.

The small country in the north Atlantic has a population of 50,000 Faroese, 80,000 sheep and a rising tally of visitors each year, currently around 100,000, to experience its dramatic scenery.

But it will now close to tourism on April 26-27, with the exception of visitors prepared to work alongside the locals to keep the islands looking wild and unspoiled.

The Faroes have been careful about opening up to large tourist numbers, but the islands’ delicate ecosystem has been feeling the strain.

As larger hotels are planned and the airport accepts bigger types of aircraft and more passengers, greater visitor numbers in the future are likely.

Tourists’ skills
Projects include creating new walking paths, signs and viewpoints to preserve the surrounding nature and protect birdlife sanctuaries. Tasks will vary in difficulty and target different skills.

Up to 100 volunteer visitors will be given free accommodation and meals on April 25-27, courtesy of the Faroese Maintenance Group, culminating in a celebratory dinner on April 27.

Faroese Prime Minister Aksel V Johannesen has given his backing to the campaign. Depending on its success, the duration of the ‘tourism closure’ may be extended in future years to a full week, the group says.

“For us, tourism is not all about numbers,” explains Guorio Hojgaard, director of Visit Faroe Islands. “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.”

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