Responsible tourism: Northern Lights holiday in Norway, Tromsø and Lyngen Alps
Since two nights of this four-night trip are spent in the Gold Green villa in Lyngenfjord, guests are located in the heart of nature amongst the Lyngen Alps, by the beautiful Ullsfjord and away from the light and sound-polluted setting of a city or large town.
Whilst they are here, they spend their time undertaking many environmentally sound activities, including husky sledding, reindeer sledding and snowshoeing. These activities are non-polluting and non-energy consuming, utilising natural modes of transport and leisure. They also benefit the area’s animal-focused businesses, by keeping the animals exercised, healthy and happy. Animal welfare is a top priority for these businesses. The huskies are well taken care of in the farm, and inspections of the dogs’ housing, food, drink and hygiene are carried out regularly. They are also visited frequently by a vet, ensuring that their general health is constantly checked and maintained.
Guests are also offered free use of snowshoes and cross country skis during their stay, encouraging exercise and eco-friendly recreational activities. When snowmobiles are used, an expert guide leads guests over specific tracks, minimising disturbance to wildlife and any general damage to the landscape.
Guests are encouraged to sleep in a Crystal Lavvo, which is a small wooden structure in the forest. There is no electricity in this accommodation and the room is heated with a log burning stove, using a renewable fuel source rather than a wasteful source of energy.
During the other two nights in Tromsø, guests’ accommodation is only a short walk away from the popular and frequently visited the city centre. This will diminish the need for transport to and from Tromsø and, in turn, will minimise the emission of harmful chemicals from cars and buses on this trip.
This trip operates with great effort to remain close to local communities in every way. This includes the utilisation of local guides, accommodation and activities where possible.
The itinerary’s visit to a local Sámi family is a particularly important example, as guests have the opportunity to spend the day learning about Sámi customs, traditions and lifestyle. The family teaches guests about their jobs as reindeer herders, explaining how reindeer benefit their business and the local economy and community. The family also entertain guests by joiking, which is a traditional form of Sámi song. This is an enriching cultural experience which exposes the vibrancy and diversity of an indigenous culture, potentially debunking misconstrued preconceptions and stereotypes. The visit also supports the sustenance of the economy as guests contribute financially to this family business.
The owner of Green Gold villa is also local and uses the villa in order to run a small, family business. He acts as the guide for his visitors and takes them on Northern Lights Hunts and other activities himself. Provision of customers contributes to the maintenance of his company, keeping money local and supporting small business in the area rather than big, international companies.