To better relate the MICE industry matters to the META strategies of the Faroe Islands, we discussed with the new Permanent Secretary to the Prime Minister, John Rajani, about the direction the small nation takes, and what the focus will be laid on. Great news is that Business, Cultural and Sport Events are considered priority areas for growth and will get extra support!
John explains the project:
“Vakstrarforum is the Strategy Think Tank of the Government of the Faroe Islands. Our Prime Minister Bárður á Steig Nielsen has initiated the project with the aim to engage local business leaders with different visions and to identify the growth opportunities of our small nation, in balance with the environmental and sustainable development. The group has identified 6 target areas for sustainable growth, established working groups for each area to develop ideas and explore effects on the environment and the sustainable development goals of the UN Agenda. The 6 identified areas are: The ocean, tourism, IT, the future labour market, maritime services and environment and renewable energy.
Obviously, for 18 islands surrounded by the North Atlantic, the resources of the ocean are playing the most important role for development. Aquaculture and related research, remain the biggest future growth factor for the destination. As an ongoing success of this industry depends on the health of the ocean and its biodiversity, protection of the ocean is a priority. If a healthy and balanced growth is to be achieved, continuous research must be undertaken. For example, for various reasons, it is significant to find new ways to grow salmon in the open ocean. The methods used at presence depend on protected areas for the cages in the Fjords – offshore aquaculture would be exposed to high waves and is a challenge. Salmon and fish from the Faroe Islands are famous for their quality and taste – one of the reasons, local food is such an attraction for events held in the Faroe Islands.”
The necessary switch to renewable energy is an important growth sector in itself: Renewable energy sources are abundant in the Faroe Islands. Strong wind, consistent ocean currents and tides. An existing network of hydropower from mountain streams and lakes, and an increasing number of wind turbines, with 3 wind parks in the pipeline for the next 2 years, converting sources of natural power into affordable green energy is a top priority. Several projects are ongoing: solar power, biogas production, offshore wind energy, power to X, pump storage battery systems and tidal energy.
To provide renewable energy to hotels and venues is an urgent matter, as certifications like Green Key demand the use of renewable energy sources. At presence, Green Key certified hotels like the Brandan Hotel and the largest venue Nordic House must use traditional sources of energy and look into their own waste management of food waste, which could be turned into biogas energy if the possibility was there.
“The destination offers all it takes for testing and developing green and blue economy solutions, before scaling up technologies and new ideas for larger markets. Therefore, meetings and conferences in this sector can help to prepare strategies and collaborations. Investments can follow, which we welcome! “
Business, Cultural and Sport Events have a high priority for our sustainable transition, because they are in line with our cornerstones in the Sustainable Tourism Strategy “Join the Preservolution”, which was published in 2019. We put emphasis on quality-conscious visitors who wish to interact with locals and take part in authentic local experiences. Events also help to broaden the seasons and meetings around business development and knowledge transfer can happen all year long. “
As our prime minister Bárður á Steig Nielsen said in his speech at the Arctic Circle Assembly in Reykjavik in October 2021:
“……We want the green transition to go far beyond energy production and consumption: What about the ways we export and import goods? What about digitization? What about tourism? In every form of activity, there is potential for sustainable development. This is the central idea behind the Forum for Sustainable Growth, the Vakstrarsforum.”
More stories showcasing sustainability aspects relevant for international events are shared in Visit Faroe Islands Meetings LinkedIn profile – make sure to follow the LinkedIn showcase!
Johanna Fischer for Visit Faroe Islands Meetings, April 2022