Voluntourists Sought from Amongst Superyacht Crew Community

Voluntourists are being sought from amongst the Superyacht crew community by the government of the Faroe Islands

Following the unprecedented success of their initiative earlier this year, the Faroe Islands has announced that the nation is again going to close for maintenance – from 16th -17th April 2020

The government is calling for willing superyacht crews to sign up as voluntourists when registration opens on Tuesday, 12th 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 15th Thursday 16th and Friday 17th April).

Pay for their own travel

Voluntourists will need to pay for their own travel to the Faroe Islands and will work alongside 40 Faroe Islanders who will also be given the chance to take part. Maintenance projects will take place on 16th and 17th 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.

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.

Sheep outnumber humans

The 18 island nation, where sheep outnumber human population by a ratio of 8:5 has a land mass of just 1,399 km2and last year accommodated over 110,000 tourists visits.

Although the islands do not currently suffer from over tourism, 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.

Positive reaction

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.