Responsible tourism: Norway winter short break, heart of the Fjords
Flåm has only recently opened for tourism in the winter, as it is keen to spread tourist numbers throughout the year, rather than accepting the current trend for huge visitor numbers in the summer, which can saturate the village.
Within our responsible travel policy, we emphasise that large group tours are not conducive to environmental responsibility, which is why this trip has been designed for small groups and in the winter season. We want to help Flåm and its local restaurants, shops and cafes to remain economically viable over the winter months, which is why we have worked hard with our local suppliers to create a tour that is far from the mass tourism that they experience in the summer months, providing an intimate experience that successfully highlights the beauty and environmental significance of the area.
By working with local people, we know that they are keen to avoid the negative impacts that travel can have on an area and that they will convey their ‘leave no trace’ ethos to our clients, visibly implementing it during activities in particular and therefore emphasising the need to be environmentally responsible throughout.
This holiday uses a locally-owned and operated hotel that has been a regular destination for tourism since the 1800s. It is the centrepiece of the village and is integral to the heritage and identity of Flåm. In addition to this, all of the activities, including the transfers, are also locally-owned and operated, which means that all of the services that we are using will directly benefit the local economy and community.
Furthermore, through the use of local suppliers we can uphold our own responsible travel policy by providing clients with a much more intimate and knowledgeable experience of the destination that respects local values and beliefs. By using local guides, we feel that we are able to offer our guests a more authentic experience that utilises the passion, knowledge and insight of the locals.
Flåm is a remote destination that lies two and a half hours away from the nearest city, which means that a large proportion of the younger generation in the surrounding area often leave their towns and villages in search of employment. By encouraging tourism to such a destination we can, in some way, help to maintain the community by providing employment and positive economic input through responsible tourism.