Visit Faroe Islands

The Faroe Islands: Closed for Maintenance, Open for Voluntourism project, 16-17 April 2020

Our Stories

Following the unprecedented success of this year’s initiative, the Faroe Islands has announced that the nation is again going to close for maintenance – from 16-17 April 2020 – and is calling for willing voluntourists to sign up when registration opens on Tuesday, 12 November, 2019.

Just 100 participants will be enlisted to give their time for free to help maintain and preserve the breathtaking Faroese landscapes and precious natural environment, in return for free accommodation, food and transport on the islands over the three-night maintenance period (Wednesday 15, Thursday 16 and Friday 17 April). They will just need to pay for their own travel to the Faroe Islands. This will be alongside 40 Faroe Islanders who will also be given the chance to take part. Maintenance projects will take place on 16 and 17 April. Closed for Maintenance, Open for Voluntourism visitors are, of course, welcome to stay on after the maintenance project should they so wish.

Some 14 popular tourist sites will be closed to the general public, with projects identified by local municipalities, tourism centres and local villagers. These include Slættaratindur, the highest mountain in the Faroe Islands, where the last stretch of the hike to the top is currently difficult to climb safely. An alternative route will be signposted and maintained by the voluntourists over the closure weekend. Other projects will include marking paths with wayfinding posts, mending paths that have eroded and re-building cairns.

To mark the end of the two-day project, on the Friday night, volunteers and local people will enjoy a celebratory meal, with Faroese food, local beer and traditional chain dancing – a Faroese folk dance accompanied by ballads sung by the dancers.

Closed for Maintenance
Ólavur Frederiksen

The Closed for Maintenance, Open for Voluntourism project forms part of a move by the Faroe Islands’ tourist board to pave the way for a sustainable future for both the islands themselves and their burgeoning tourism industry. Although the islands do not currently suffer from overtourism, the fragile natural environment in a few popular tourist locations has felt the effects of around a 10% growth in visitors over recent years, taking annual visitor numbers to around 110,000, and still growing.

In April 2019, the Closed for Maintenance, Open for Voluntourism pilot project saw unexpectedly high numbers of volunteers sign up to offer their services, with more than 3,500 applications from people around the world to fill the 100 free places. The 100 voluntourists represented 25 different nations, all working together with the local Faroese, and making a tangible, positive difference to the environment.

Zuzana Chromikova from Slovakia was one such voluntourist who took part in 2019. She explained that her experience as part of the Maintenance Crew was an extremely positive one. She said: “Thank you for the new hope and faith in people this experience gave me. I will never forget this.”

Islanders reacted positively, too, and were delighted at the progress – and friendships – made with their helpers.

The Faroese hope that their project will also inspire other countries to set up their own Maintenance Crews, encouraging visitors to help to redress the impact of tourism worldwide.

Registration to become part of the Maintenance Crew will open on Tuesday 12 November at 15.00 hrs (GMT).

Sign up here: https://visitfaroeislands.com/closed/sign-up-for-2020/abroad.

For more information about the Faroe Islands, see www.visitfaroeislands.com.

Closed for Maintenance
Kirstin Vang

Editor’s Notes:

About the Faroe Islands:

  • Population: 51,312
  • Number of sheep: 80,000
  • Number of islands: 18
  • Total area: 1,399 km2
  • Estimated number of tourists: 110,000 in 2018

Press: Please contact Kate Chapman or Laura Forbes at Travel PR, tel: 020 8891 4440; email: k.chapman@travelpr.co.uk or l.forbes@travelpr.co.uk.

Blog

Hike your way around the Faroe Islands
Faroes Remote Tourism
Visit Faroe Islands

Hike your way around the Faroe Islands

Learn more
Fly direct to the green-list Faroe Islands from 1st July
Undiscovered Faroe Islands, Credit Per Morten Abrahamsen
Visit Faroe Islands

Fly direct to the green-list Faroe Islands from 1st July

Learn more
Five reasons to visit the Faroe Islands in 2021
Faroe Islands
Visit Faroe Islands

Five reasons to visit the Faroe Islands in 2021

Learn more
daniel-klein-Qx8_d5dGhrs-unsplash

Travel PR is not just a PR agency which works to represent us as a business; they are very much part of the AITO family, and make it their mission to engrain AITO’s DNA into the way that they work. It’s more like working with friends, because they really care and are passionate about AITO. They constantly strive to ensure that AITO is seen as the market leader in specialist travel and we trust them implicitly.

AITO, The Specialist Travel Association

Contact us

Travel PR, established 25 years ago, is a leading specialist PR and communications agency specialising in the travel, hotel and lifestyle markets. Want to create a PR strategy for your brand?