This Country Is Temporarily Closing to Visitors for Maintenance

Feb 23, 2019

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On the weekend of April 25th through the 27th, the Faroe Islands will be temporarily closing its doors to devote attention towards the upkeep and protection of the archipelago’s unique landscape in the face of increasing tourism. Only 100 tourists will be able to visit as part of the “Faroese Maintenance Crew,” during which time they’ll participate in the effort.

Throughout the weekend, volunteers will work on projects like building walking paths, constructing viewpoints to protect wildlife and erecting navigational signs. They’ll be hosted and fed free of charge, and the weekend will culminate with a celebratory meal. If the weekend is a success, Biz Journal reports that the country will consider making it an annual effort. The Prime Minister of the islands, Aksel V. Johannesen, is now inviting people to join the crew and help out.

The Faroe Islands has surely found a place on the map in recent years, slowly becoming known for its gorgeous waterfall and mountaintop views, its insanely fresh food scene and for being the country where sheep outnumber people. In fact, both CBS and Forbes noted the archipelago as a top travel destination in 2018. So, it’s no surprise that intentional efforts to protect and maintain land are being enacted.

“We are delighted that more and more people are discovering how special our islands are — our scenery, our unique way of life, our food and our people,” said Guðrið Højgaard, director of the Faroe Islands tourist board. “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.”

While the group of islands still may be considered comparatively under-the-radar, its tourist board seems to be well aware of the potential problems involved with overtourism.

In other cases, many cities and countries have had to make fairly significant changes and implementations to combat overtourism. High traffic destinations like Venice and Edinburgh have tourist fees in the works to help maintain the cities despite overtourism. And popular Thai beach Maya Bay resorted to closing indefinitely last year due to the issue.

With the tourist board’s perspective in mind, the approach to combat the negative effects of overtourism seems to be intelligently preventative and mutually favorable for tourists and the terrain of the country alike.

H/T: The Telegraph

Featured image by Posnov/Getty Images.

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