Would you like to contribute to eco-friendly and sustainable tourism? Here are 10 good tips.
What is sustainable tourism?
Eco-friendly tourism is a high priority for many travellers, as well as the local communities of Helgeland. The goal is to ensure that the tourism is sustainable, that an area doesn’t receive more travellers than it can handle, and that travellers make a positive contribution to the community by shopping locally and by being considerate to local residents
Here are 10 tips if you want to contribute to this:
Stay longer in one place
Travel less – see more! Instead of driving the full length of Helgeland in, say, just two days, you can spend six days on your road trip. Or maybe choose just one island, one village or town, and stay there for a good while. That gives you the opportunity to really get to know the area, and your climate footprint will be smaller. But if you are staying in a tent or in your caravan, please remember to move a little every couple of days so the vegetation underneath you doesn’t die.
Rent or bring a bicycle
Many of the islands on the Helgeland coast simply don’t have the capacity to receive a lot of cars during the summer. So we suggest that in most cases you leave your car on the mainland and instead bring a bicycle – your own or a rented one – on the ferry or express boat. Exploring the island on two wheels will be good for your health, and it’s certainly the better choice for the environment!
Support the local business community
Buy your food where you are, whether at the café or restaurant of your choice, or at the local grocery store. If you have the necessary footwear and equipment, consider joining a guided excursion. Sometimes they can also provide the equipment you lack. Local guides have knowledge and expertise that will enrich your adventure and teach you much about the area and its heritage.
Go “island hopping” or “train hopping”
Instead of driving from place to place, why not leave your car behind and go “island hopping” by express boat, or “train hopping” along the Nordland Line? Or both! Buses and local taxis can provide transportation between the airports, train stations and express boat quays.
Travel before or after the peak seaso
In Helgeland, every season has its charm, and that certainly applies to early and late summer. Norwegians have a joint holiday in July and head for their destinations of choice in Norway or abroad. July is the peak season also for foreign travellers. When you schedule your Helgeland holiday before or after the peak season, you may find greater satisfaction while helping tourism-related business to expand their season.
Follow the Norwegian Mountain Code
The good, common-sense rules of the Norwegian Mountain Code (Fjellvettreglene) are applicable for all your adventures, including seaborne excursions. Plan each adventure thoroughly according to the weather forecast, your skills and experience. It’s often a good idea to join a guided excursion or to hire an experienced guide. They are thoroughly familiar with local conditions, and they will enrich your experience and ensure your safety.
Leave no trace!
We encourage you to leave no trace of your visit in the landscape. This requires mindfulness and practice. Here is a simple guideline to follow:
- Stay on the trail so as to avoid causing erosion.
- Take plastic bags along and bring back your rubbish – and kindly pick up also what you see other people have left behind.
- Bring back or burn your used toilet paper.
- Use existing campfire sites whenever possible. Never light a fire in exceptionally dry conditions or in vulnerable terrain. Avoid fires in areas where many people are hiking.
- Do not build cairns in the mountains! The existing cairns are important trail markers that guide hikers – and your new cairn may send other hikers dangerously astray.
- Avoid camping in high-traffic areas. Always move your tent after two days so the vegetation on your spot doesn’t die.
Respect wildlife and birdlife
Keep a respectful distance from animals and birds so as to avoid spooking them, especially during the nesting season and when deer and reindeer have calves. Remember that young animals are especially vulnerable. Keep a respectful distance, don’t walk towards them, and keep your dog leashed. Never fly a drone at low height near animals or birds. Be aware that some islands and nature reserves are important nesting sites, and that going ashore is prohibited during the nesting season.
Plan your toilet visits
Don’t assume that there is going to be a public toilet or an open café everywhere you visit. That’s especially true if you are spending the night outdoors. Please plan your toilet visits so that you use the opportunity when you pass a toilet, and in the wilderness make sure you are not a nuisance to others. If there are no facilities where you are pitching your tent, bring a small garden shovel so you can dig a small “toilet hole”.
Be considerate of the locals
You are our guest and we welcome you. But this is our home and we ask you to be respectful and show consideration of the locals. We have jobs to do, we want our children to stay safe while playing, and for our livestock to be able to graze safely. Drive calmly, even when you have to reach a ferry. When sightseeing at a slower speed, frequently pull to the side of the road to let other cars pass you. Never park so that your car impedes other vehicles.
Norway has a Right to Roam, but please keep a respectful distance from houses and cabins. Don’t fly drones over private property, and operate them only when you are far from other people. Always clean up after yourself, take all your rubbish with your – and if you can, pick up other people’s rubbish as well. We keenly appreciate visitors who engage in “plogging”; removing rubbish while walking or jogging on our beaches and hiking trails.
Thank you for contributing to sustainable tourism in Helgeland!