Responsible tourism: Norway activity holiday, fjords and mountains
The hotel that we use for this trip has been locally-owned and operated since the late 1800s and it is a central part of the village both in terms of employment and identity.
The hotel is certified as an Eco Lighthouse, which is a strict Norwegian certification programme that is widely used for enterprises seeking to highlight their environmental efforts and demonstrate their social responsibility. As a member of this, they have implemented measures to reduce energy consumption and waste, as well as increasing their recycling efforts. In addition to this, they aim to use environmentally friendly products where possible and they encourage guests to actively take part in sustainability through methods such as reduced linen usage.
Furthermore, the hotel focuses on using local produce, serving food that emphasises local and organic flavours. By doing so, they encourage nearby farms to flourish and ensure that produce is fresh and to a high quality, all the while reducing the need for imports and goods that require transportation over long distances.
Flåm is a small community in a remote part of Norway, which until winter 2015/16 had been closed for tourism over the winter months. The community and tourist board decided to start up a project that would encourage local businesses to agree to remain open over the winter and therefore provide the opportunity to open up the destination to winter tourism, thus diverting attention from the main summer season which often sees the area become over-saturated with tourists. Due to the huge influx of summer visitors, the winter season formerly saw shops and restaurants closing and the village lost part of its identity as workers headed back to the larger towns and cities in search of employment. By drawing the emphasis away from the summer, we can help to encourage locals to stay in Flåm throughout the year, therefore reducing the loss of community.
All of the activities within this trip, including the ground transportation, are owned and operated locally, therefore the community and surrounding area will directly benefit from all bookings, which in turn enhances the economic development of the area and the longevity of the destination. Furthermore, the majority of the activities are led by local operators who make sure that their local knowledge, history and customs are imparted to all those who take part in the activities.