Atlantic Airways played host to the FlyFaroe 2007 tourism convention in Torshavn at the weekend in a bid to persuade the travel industry to increase their promotion of the islands.
There is an old Faroese saying; “ull er Føroya gull”, meaning “wool is the gold of the Faroes” but the islanders now want this changed to “tourism is the gold of the Faroes”. At the moment the ‘gold of the Faroes’ is to be found in fishing, an industry which the country is almost totally dependent on. This puts the economy in a very vulnerable position, as became evident in the 1990’s when a drop in the all-important fish catch caused severe economic problems and high unemployment.
The Faroese are therefore eager to diversify their economy and have seen the gold that tourism can bring to remote North Atlantic destinations. Their northerly neighbour Iceland has reaped in the benefits of tourism which is now one of the fastest growing sectors of the Icelandic economy. In 2006 Iceland boasted 400,000 visitors with a growth rate of around 15% pa – something the Faroe Islanders are keen to emulate.
For this reason it’s all hands to the deck for Faroese tourism. The Faroese Minister of Tourism, the CEO of Atlantic Airways and the Director of the Faroese Tourist Board all addressed the FlyFaroe conference hosted at the Nordic House in Torshavn. They spoke of the benefits of offering the Faroe Islands as a tourist destination; from the unspoilt natural beauty to the proximity of the islands to the UK, Norway and Denmark.
Representing Nordic eMarketing, Olafur Kr. Olafsson, Internet Marketing Consultant, discussed the important role of internet marketing and search engine optimisation in allowing the Faroe Islands become more visible on the Internet. “The Faroese travel industry needs to start thinking of the Internet as an integral part of their marketing strategies,” he said. “The Faroese are sitting on a gold mine – if only they could be found”.
After the speakers had finished, attendees had the chance to visit the stalls of the exhibitors and discuss putting plans into actions. There were representatives from all sectors of the Faroese travel trade and buyers from around 40 Scandinavian, British, European, American and Japanese travel companies. In the evening guests attended a sumptuous and entertaining gala dinner and on the next day were treated to a sightseeing trip around the island of Vagar to experience the Faroese countryside at first hand. Attendees were unanimous in their praise for such a well-organised, elegant and successful convention.
For further information on travel to the Faroe Islands visit the tourist board’s website at www.visit-faroeislands.com
For information on Nordic eMarketing and their work in helping Faroese businesses have success on the Internet, visit www.nordicemarketing.com