Sustainable Tourism in the Norwegian Fjords

Sustainable tourism has become more and more important – read here about the most common definitions and learn how FlatEarth Adventures is addressing the issue. This outdoor company proudly offers their guests sustainable activities, wishing to contribute to an environmental awareness as well.

Tourism has become the world’s largest industry and especially nature tourism is its fastest growing segment.

Considering these facts with the fact that the nature is getting more destroyed and damaged by ignorant people, it is no longer a surprise that ecotourism / geo tourism / sustainable tourism has turned out to be more and more popular among tourists. Few years ago these terms were often connected to eccentric nature loving travelers but nowadays we see a growing demand for sustainable tourism among all kind of tourists.

It might be only a matter of time until certain animal species will be extinct and some of the amazing natural phenomena will disappear from the face of the earth. Since savvy people have become aware of this reality, more and more people are getting interested in protection and preservation of the nature. Also when they go on holiday…

What can we imagine under the term Ecotourism?
There are several definitions describing this term.
The International Ecotourism Society defines it as: “responsible travel to natural areas which conserves the environment and improves the welfare of the local people”.

When Martha Honey published her book “Ecotourism and Sustainable Development”, which is dedicated to this topic, her definitions quickly spread worldwide. Her definition consists of 7 main points:

  1. Traveling to natural destinations which are uninhabited, uninhabited or under the certain level of environmental protection.
  1. Minimizing impact of tourism.
  1. Building environmental awareness.
  1. Providing direct financial benefits for conservation.
  1. Providing financial benefits and empowerment for local people.
  1. Respecting local culture.
  1. Supporting human rights and democratic movements.

Another definition provided by the World Conservation Union is as follows: “Environmentally responsible travel to natural areas, in order to enjoy and appreciate nature (and accompanying cultural features, both past and present) that promotes conservation, have a low visitor impact and provide for beneficially active socio-economic involvement of local peoples.”

The definition by Travel Industry Dictionary is as follows: “A style of travel in which an emphasis is placed on unspoiled, natural destinations and on disturbing the environment as little as possible”.
Sustainable Tourism and Geo Tourism
These terms are other ways of defining Ecotourism and can be defined as:

Sustainable tourism is according to www.greentourism.org.uk  “simply sustainable development achieved through tourism. Sustainable development is economic development that takes a long-term view. It balances the benefits of economic development against environmental and social costs. Just as sustainable development assumes continued economic growth, so ustainable tourism assumes continued tourism growth.”

National Geographic defines Geo Tourism as: “Geo tourism is defined as tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place — its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage, and the well-being of its residents.”

On day-to-day basis and for most people in general there is not a great difference between the 3 different terms. We shall therefore use the term “Sustainable tourism” as covering all aspects of the three terms henceforth.

Choose a sustainable holiday – it’s easier than you think !
The multi activity specialist FlatEarth Adventures, located in Eidfjord in the innermost part of Hardangerfjord, belongs to the growing community of suppliers of sustainable outdoor activity products. The company has a unique location with the Hardangervidda National Park right outside the door. This is one of Northern Europe’s most extensive highland plateaus and Norway’s largest national park. The National Park is an exceedingly valuable highland area. It is home to the largest herds of wild reindeer in Europe and is the southernmost habitat of the snowy owl, the Arctic fox and other species of Arctic flora and fauna. In the surrounding you can also find salmon and trout rivers, huge vertical fjord walls, glaciers and the most famous waterfall in Norway, the spectacular Vøringfossen, which drops about 183m from Fossli down into the Måbø valley.

The founders of FlatEarth know the surroundings intimately and they truly love this country as it offers a unique range of possibilities as a destination for outdoor activities – all at one spot, which is very hard to beat. FlatEarth offers experiences for pre-booked groups as well as individual travelers both alert to unique quality, history and special character of this spot.

FlatEarth makes a great effort to conduct the business in an environmentally-responsible manner. This means using low energy lightening, leaving nothing on standby, recycle glass, metal, paper etc. etc. In the aim to minimize waste of paper, FlatEarth corresponds with the customers via email and online as much as possible avoiding glossy direct mail sent by postal services.

Another thing important to be mentioned is that most activities are in walking or biking distance, which helps to minimize pollution of the air.
This Multi Activity company also arranges projects for the kids and students how to get to know and preserve the nature. These groups are staying in the camping places, making hiking trips in the surroundings and participating in special activities to contribute to their environmental awareness.

Every guided activity with FlatEarth Adventures is accompanied by information about the local environment, wildlife, culture and traditions so that the customers have obtained not only the great outdoor experience and adventure, but also knowledge about the surroundings.

For the customers, choosing a sustainable holiday is not only a positive ethical choice, is also a reassurance that they will be visiting an area where the local environment is cared for, enhancing their pleasure of the visit. Whatever the initial reason for choosing a sustainable holiday, there are significant benefits both in terms of the environmental impact of holiday and in enjoyment of the holiday experience.

For more information about the outdoor activities as well as the philosophy behind FlatEarth Adventures please visit www.flatearth.no