Walking to a viewpoint can now come with a price in the Faroe Islands. Some farmers are demanding a fee to cross their land, in order to get to the viewpoint. Is this the first time that citizens are charging tourists?
The Faroe Islands, located above the UK as part of Denmark, are booming in tourism, due to the attention they got on social media and the efforts of the marketing team of the Islands. It’s known for its sheep, mountains, and rural towns, tourists are now exploring the marvellous landscapes. Some farmers are taking advantage of the tourism by charging tourists to walk to viewpoints on their land.
Right to roam
In most Scandinavian countries, there is an ancient land law which is called the right to roam. This means that everyone is allowed to roam in the countryside, whether the land is private or public. In most countries, there are a few rules to follow, which you can find online.
In the Faroe Islands, this was also common for the countryside paths, but many social media influencers took shortcuts to famous viewpoints on private property. This isn’t part of the law in the islands, so the farmers came up with charges to prevent tourists from trespassing. At some tourist spots, you’ll have to pay to get to the viewpoints, often there is a guide or bus included.
Guðrið Højgaard, the director of Visit Faroe Islands, told the Guardian, she finds a part of the tourism success should go to the citizens. ‘The last thing we want is for Faroese people to see tourists as a problem.’ Høgni Hoydal, the Minister for Trade and Industry finds that part of the fees should be to protect nature, as well as the fact that people should offer services when they’re asking for fees.
Other destinations with fees
The Faroe Islands aren’t the first citizens that are asking for fees to enter specific parts of the country. Some try to protect the villages from mass tourism, while others support the local community by asking for a fee.
1. Clovelly in the United Kingdom: picturesque fishing village
Clovelly is a historic coastal village in the county of Devon, south-east England. The village is mostly known for its views of the channel of Bristol and its traffic-free cobblestone roads. The whole village has been managed for centuries by the Hamlyn family, who came up with the fees in 1988. Included in the ticket for entering the village, is the parking and entrance of the garden and two museums. It costs 8.75 British pounds to visit Britain’s most Instagramable village of 2020.
2. Koh Phi Phi Viewpoint 3 in Thailand: gaze into the blue sea
Koh Phi Phi is a famous viewpoint over the tropical island. To reach the lookout points, you follow the walking path with a lot of stairs. The fee to enter viewpoints one and two is 30 Thai Bath, but when you also want to visit the third viewpoint, you’ll have to pay an extra fee since this is on private property. It’s a small fee of 20 Thai Bath. Included in this fee is a free bottle of water and another majestic view of blue water and palm trees.
3. Nusfjord in Norway: traditional Norwegian architecture
In the Lofoten, an archipelago on the coastline of Norway, you’ll find a fishing village where the inhabitants ask for a fee to enter. Nusfjord is one of the best-remaining fishing villages of the Lofoten, which comes with a lot of tourism. Since 2019, the citizens got tired of the tourists so they decided to ask a fee of 100 Norwegian krone to enter their village.
4. Jodiban, Malang City in Indonesia: the rainbow village
Jodiban were slums areas on the riverbanks of the Bantas River, at Java Island. The area would’ve been demolished without the help of the students of the University of Malang. They came up with a paint project in 2016 to get Jodiban a new income stream. It hasn’t yet become a tourist hotspot, but the village is already known among social media influencers. To enter the village, you pay a small price of 5,000 Indonesian Rupi, which is 30 cents, including a gadget such as a sticker or key chain. Jodiban is divided into three villages, so it can happen that you’ll have to pay three times. You can explore the village by yourself and take as many pictures as you want.
5. Civita di Bagnoregio in Italy: isolated city got a new life
The city of Civita was built on a crumbling tufa stone cliff about 2.500 years ago by the Etruscans. Because of its plight location it got the name of the dying city. To preserve the city and pick a piece of the mass tourism in Italy, they came up with the fee. It’s mostly a marketing stunt to attract tourists, the fee was introduced ten years ago and it was a success against all criticism. The fee is just a small symbolic gift between three and five euros. It’s used to restore the village and maintain its position on the cliff.
Support local communities
Also big cities are suffering from mass tourism, for instance, Venice will charge a fee for day tourists from Spring 2024. Almost all of the fees asked by villages or viewpoints are there to support the local community or to preserve nature. Therefore you also contribute as a tourist to sustainable tourism, because the local citiziens can profit from the tourism income they receive.
Text: Lotte van den Hout
Photo: Tomáš Malík via Unsplash, floating lake at the Faroe Islands