Røða hjá Jørgeni Niclasen, landsstýrismanni í fíggjarmálum, í sambandi við setanina av ráðstevnuni “Northern Periphery and the Arctic Programme” tann 30. oktober í Østrøm.
Good morning, speakers and participants.
It gives me great pleasure to welcome all of you to this conference to address the theme of tourism. I would especially like to welcome those of you who have put in to effort to travel to the Faroes to attend the conference. We truly appreciate the visitor’s perspectives and experiences on the very topical issue of tourism today.
In recent years, tourism has become a significant part of the Faroese economy. We believe it has the potential to create an economic turnaround. It is forming the bases for new jobs and opportunities all across the Faroe Islands.
Areas outside of Tórshavn have become hotspots for tourists and locals alike. Instead of places you leave owing to economic decline. In these places tourism is now appreciated as an alternative way to make a living and people take pride in settling down in their local community as an alternative to departure. We experience landscapes and townscapes that are thriving with a much larger choice of cultural offerings and where new concepts and interpretations of good old customs have been transformed into unique attractions. Attractions which give tourists and locals new incentives to discover the Faroe Islands in a new light.
An example is the notion of “Heimablídni” - which can be translated into hospitality in the home. The idea is that locals invite paying guests for a homemade meal and storytelling based on traditional Faroese cooking and our cultural heritage.
However, the growing number of tourists is also a challenge. We need to ask ourselves how do you stay “sustainable?” Because ultimately that is our single greastest ambition. Unless we manage tourism sustainably, we will gradually undermine its growth. Nature is our primary trademark and we must ensure that doesn’t change.
That is why we must strive to strike the right balance between the biological limits of nature. And our rights and duties to use our natural resources sustainably. And the need to create economic development. Getting this balance right will make us all much better prepared to cope with the inevitable ongoing changes.
The Government of the Faroe Islands a few years ago took the initiative to establish a new department to manage tourism. It is a balancing act and requires a close dialogue with all the local stakeholders, tourist companies, farmers, cultural enterprises and municipalities.
We are confident that it is possible to develop a tourism industry in remote and rural areas that is in harmony with the nature and the local culture. It is not only possible - it is also vital for the survival of the societies.
I am very pleased to see so many of you having found your way to the Faroe Islands and I wish you all a good conference.
Jørgen Niclasen, Landsstýrismaður
(Photo credit: Northern pheriphery and the Arctic Programme)