Responsible tourism: Northern Lights & arctic adventure vacation in Norway
In Tromsø, the largest population centre in Northern Norway, we have chosen our hotel partners carefully. Obviously we want to ensure an excellent level of service for our guests but we always take into account the hotels’ environmental credentials.
Larger city centre hotels are obviously very different to some of the small lodges we use elsewhere but we feel that our partners do have a stringent policy in their hotel which helps to mitigate the hotel’s environmental footprint. They operate their own 'Room for Responsibility' programme which outlines their core values, ethical and environmental business practices and corporate social responsibility. The hotel implements energy and water saving programmes in the hotel and also ensures that as much waste as possible is recycled.
In Kvaløya, our locally owned and operated self catering cabins have taken account of their stunning surroundings and have been built in traditional style and using responsibly sourced timber. They are also very environmentally aware and they have implemented a number of measures such as; reducing the consumption of detergents by using microfiber materials in their cleaning tasks, they sort their waste materials, they use energy-saving light bulbs and they purchase renewable energy. Through their visitor information material they encourage guests to be aware of unnecessary use of energy. They have also provided visitors with electric vehicles an area to charge their vehicles, thus cutting down on emissions.
All activity guides are acutely aware that they must ensure the preservation of the environment and take their responsibility very seriously. There is a strict leave no trace policy throughout and any rubbish is removed from the wilderness and recycled where possible. Trail routes are well maintained managed to prevent any unnecessary erosion and ensure that any impacts of the tours are mitigated.
All animals, including the reindeer and huskies are looked after to the highest welfare standards.
During the whale and wildlife safaris a strict code of conduct is in place to ensure that the animals are not disturbed during the safaris and they are never pursued by the boats.
Tromsø as a destination is quite unique as it is a seriously remote city that is, in relation to most similar outposts, thriving. The flow of migration to southern cities has been slowed here because of tourism and the creation of new jobs and livelihoods for the young people. New, entrepreneurial tourism companies are appearing and we are very happy to work with them to support them in their ventures. The local people know their destinations best and that is why we always choose to work with local suppliers and experts.
Working with local suppliers also ensures that the benefits of tourist expenditure remain within the region. The tourism multiplier effect can be seen widely here and we always try to encourage clients to shop locally. This is especially relevant in this vacation during the self catering section of the vacation.
The Sámi culture of Lapland is of huge importance to the region and we feel that all visitors should gain an understanding of the local heritage and culture, thus we have included a morning visit to a reindeer herding family.
Our hotel in Tromsø also supports a great deal of community projects and is a large employer of local people and as well as being a purchaser of local products. They support non-profit organisations in providing food, shelter and clothing to those in need they also support and promote the growth and development of hospitality and tourism in the area in order to continue to stimulate the growth of the industry.