On “ecomice” mission: It is time to catch up on many new developments happening over the 2 years of pandemic encapsulation in destinations.
Last week’s discoveries in the Faroe Islands included new hotel concepts, food initiatives, political strategy, cultural sustainability concepts and many talks with the local partners of Visit Faroe Islands Meetings.
Cultural values are precious and build a society’s identity. To gently integrate authentic cultural identity in MICE programs can provide new angles and contextual understanding. The Nordic House in Torshavn is one of the centres of educating about changing perceptions and a forum to meet and exchange. I met with Gunn Hernes, the director, and Birna Jacobsen, project manager meetings & conferences to discuss their core mission as part of the Nordic Council and the challenging transition to a Green Key certified conference and cultural center.
Art in the Faroe Islands is often inspired by the overwhelming nature – to get a deeper feeling of the soul and heartbeat driving Faroese artists, a visit in the National Art Gallery “Listasavn Føroya” is an absolute must. The passionate team there has the mission to involve sustainability aspects in their exhibitions and curation work: The new exhibition opening last Friday, titled “Changing Landscapes”, questions our understanding of landscapes and looks at new ways to express the changed perceptions. It relates the exhibition topic to the SDGs 13 (climate action) and 15 (life on land) of the UN Agenda 2030, to relate changes in landscapes to the dangers of global warming and the loss of biodiversity. The narratives in the exhibits help to educate school kids and adults.
Of obvious relevance to meeting organizers are sustainability concepts of hotels and there is good news to tell about: During the pandemic, 2 new hotels and a major renovation of an existing hotel, the Hotel Foroyar, are proof to the strong commitment to responsible management in all different properties.
The owners of Hotel Foroyar for example have built a whole new wing of rooms and suites, as well as a one-of-its kind SPA in the Faroe Islands and have even more plans to extend SPA facilities to outdoors by providing hot tubs and an infinity pool. Foroyar follows it’s own goals for a sustainability concept which is very ambitious, according to Aleth Nielsen, General Manager at Hotel Føroyar.
The new 4-star Brandan Hotel is the first hotel with a Green Key certification in the Faroe Islands and the Manager of the hotel, Rógvi Mikkelsen has a lot of exciting stories to tell about the hotel’s concept and its influence on other parts of the owners company, Smyril Lines.
A similar approach is to be found in the new Hilton Garden Inn, also a 4-star hotel and built from scratch along Hilton group’s own sustainability guidelines. We have recently published an interview about the process of building a sustainable hotel: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6876905990214709248.
Now I followed up by experiencing the concept first-hand and taking the chance to talk to the director, Martin Restorff, how they managed to open a new hotel during the pandemic. While in the Hilton, Visit Faroe Islands Meetings organized a gathering with their local stakeholders to inform about plans for 2022. How to continue to jointly establish the destination as a high-end and environment conscious place for conferences and business events is a major topic for the organization. A focus lies on collaboration – both among stakeholders and with international planners, on identifying the most sensible ways for attracting topical events. Conferences related to environmental goals and the local industries, create mutual benefit for both sides.
The questions around story-telling with “one voice” are mirrored in a discussion with Olav Faero, Manager of the DMC part at 62° North. It is likely to be a similar challenge for many DMCS – Read the full story here
I gave a presentation at the stakeholders’ meeting about the new “ecomice” concept, which is to create a joint message in the destination and build up collaborative responsibility. Supply chains for MICE can involve all organizations responsible for strategic development in a destination.
The concept of “ecomice” stands for integration of “ecology” and “economy” in all MICE related strategies and aspects of a destination.
To better relate the MICE industry matters to the META strategies of the Faroe Islands, I had a meeting with the new Permanent Secretary of the Government, John Rajani, (picture left) about the direction the small nation takes, and where the focus will be laid. So much can already be revealed: both business and cultural as well as sport events were identified as priority areas for growth!
A lot of potential is also seen in the film industry of the Faroe Islands. The Filmhusid – the local film institute – supports local artists and promotes their talent and the destination. In a meeting with the director Tina Wagner she explains, what it takes to establish a new industry of film making and servicing companies!
These efforts correlate nicely with the opening of the new TV crime series TROM which was produced in the Faroe Islands – an interview with Jòn Hammer, the producer, shows more aspects of filmmaking in the islands.
Being an island destination, there are few choices how to travel to the Faroe Islands – it must be by plane or by ship. To shed lights on the sustainability aspects of the national airline, Atlantik Airways, I talked to Jóhanna a Bergi, (picture) the CEO of Atlantik Airways, about the flourishing small airline and its important role in society and in the sustainable efforts of the Faroe Islands’ destination development.
The full stories will be shared in Visit Faroe Islands Meetings LinkedIn profile over the next few weeks. If you want to keep up with some very interesting people and concepts, make sure to follow the LinkedIn showcase!