A brief history up to date

The 18 tiny islands in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean between Iceland and Norway were firstly inhabited by Irish hermit monks around A.D. 565, who referred to them as ‘‘the islands of the sheep and the paradise of the birds.’’ The Vikings landed by 900AD and named the Islands “Føroyar”(Faroe Islands) a word derived from old Norse that means Sheep Islands. This description is still accurate, since today there are twice as many sheep as people (population 48,300), and the bird life is extremely rich and varied.  Today the Islands are a foodie heaven, with a great selection of famous restaurants. Tourism is blooming and it is an important part of their economy. This basically happens because the islands look pretty much like this (click to enlarge):

But what happens in the Faroe Islands from an economical point of view? Why would associations, corporations or key business players ever consider bringing their events and investment into this small community?

Well, first of all, because they operate in one of these fields the Faroe Islands are successful at: fisheries, shipping, aquaculture, marine biology, navigation, oceanography, biotech. The Faroe Islands have a small open economy, which is largely dependent on areas of expertise that are related to the ocean and associated fields of knowledge. The work being done within the fields above is continuously ground-breaking and serves to sustain the Faroese economy. Secondly, because the Faroese business sector is gradually becoming more diversified, and open for international business.

Some of their main industry sectors are:

Marine: The Islands are a maritime service hub in the North Atlantic. The Faroese maritime expertise is widely renowned, defined by a high degree of flexibility and professionalism, which extends to crew, officers, shipping companies and service providers alike. Many marine conferences would find the place a knowledge hub for the industry.

Fisheries and aquaculture: Fishery products, including farmed salmon, represent more than 95% of the total Faroese goods export and around 20% of the Faroese GDP.

Sustainable salmon: Salmon farming on a fjord in the Faroe Islands is expanding, so much so that when it comes to aquaculture, the Faroe Islands are developing into one of the world’s large salmon producing countries.

In 2003, the Faroe Islands implemented one of the most comprehensive and stringent aquaculture veterinarian regulatory regimes in the world, which has been instrumental in ensuring the welfare and quality of the salmon, protecting the salmon from disease and other natural and external pressures. The goal of the comprehensive legislation was to create the most sustainable salmon production environment in the world. The Faroese Veterinarian Act on Aquaculture prevention programme has been so effective that farmed salmon from the Faroe Islands are completely free of antibiotics. The act now provides inspiration and guidance for the implementation of sustainable aquaculture standards around the world.

Transportation & Trade: To maintain fish welfare and freshness, transport times are extremely short. Although located in the middle of the North Atlantic, fresh salmon from the Faroe Islands can, for example, reach the US market within just 72 hours of harvesting. The Faroe Islands have entered into a number of Free Trade Agreements and agreements on fishing rights with neighbouring countries, among them the European Union, as the Faroe Islands are not a member of the EU. The government is currently looking into the possibilities of obtaining membership of the World Trade Organisation.

Agriculture: Steady productions of milk, potatoes, vegetables, sheep products.

Energy sector: Did you know that the Faroe Islands is one of the world’s leading nations in producing sustainable electricity, with over 50% of the nation’s electricity deriving from renewable energy sources? There is great potential in the Faroe Islands for the exploitation of renewable energy, and SEV, the main energy supplier of the Faroe Islands, has officially announced that the goal is to have 100% green energy production by 2030.

Wool industry: Sold in places such as the trend-setting Isetan department store in Tokyo and carrying and amazing story, Gudrun & Gudrun is a Faroese knitwear label produced on the islands, from organic materials and using a sustainable workforce.

Petroleum: It was found close to the Faroese area in 2001 and it gives hope for deposits in the immediate area. The Faroese have developed a great expertise within the field since the oil exploration got underway and today a large number of Faroe Islanders work in the international offshore industry.

Birds: Birdwatching is popular. There are many puffins to see – around 10 times as many as there are humans – plus oystercatchers and other rare birds.

Last and not least, the Islands are an amazing destination for MICE in any industry, because their nature looks like this:

To get a deeper knowledge of the Faroe Islands, please read more interesting articles on our newsroom.

Your contact person at Visit Faroe Islands:
Annleyg Lamhauge
Mice Marketing Manager
tel. +298 556136

Your contact at tmf dialogue marketing:
Ulrike Kiesel
Project Manager Content & PR
tel. +49 (0)931 9002 114