Norway’s Fjords: “A-” But Vulnerable

[Above: Geirangerfjord. Photo: Jonathan Tourtellot ]

Would you change this grade? See below, then add your recommendation

Stewardship news on Norway’s Fjords:

GRADE: A-  Why this grade? Representative panelist comments from the National Geographic stewardship surveys:

2009 – World Iconic Destinations:
 “Visiting this region requires a substantial investment by the international tourist, which keeps visitor levels low and allows for a low level of impact. The cruise and expedition ships are highly responsible, acting also as ferries for local people. Local operators and hoteliers are highly dedicated to traditional culture and educating tourists.”

“Environmental quality is at the highest level. Landscape is amazing and aesthetically one of the most beautiful. The icons of Norway are so unique that it is difficult to imagine anything else. The local culture can be seen on the shores and mountains. It gives an ideal overview of well-preserved Norwegian rural life.”

“The short tourist season, rugged terrain, limited population, and inherent sensitivity of the locals to the environment bode well for the fjord region.”

2006 – World Heritage Sites:
“Since this part of Norway was just chosen as a World Heritage site, a visitor management plan is completely lacking, but the scenery is beautiful and the roads to Geiranger are improving.”

“To float into the Geirangerfjord is an astonishingly complete natural experience—steep, lush and rocky canyon walls, endless waterfalls, a snow-capped backdrop and inconceivably deep, emerald green water. There are a wealth of farms, now largely abandoned (Skagefla, Knivsfla and Blomberg) along Geirangerfjord’s banks, one of which is only accessed by climbing a flimsy rope ladder which spans hundreds of meters from the water, along the cliff face, to the farm plateau. Some information on its history is available, but there’s not yet an emphasis on touring there.”

“The West Fjords have sensational scenery, are well-preserved and are clean. The people there are willing and helpful. There are great outdoor activities,

Norwegian Fjords Photo Credit: Andy Beal Photography

Norwegian Fjords. Photo: Andy Beal Photography

and good hotel options and restaurants, but they close rather early! In May-June there’s no feeling of mass tourism, visitors can just take ferries like normal Norwegians going about their business.”

“The presence of the ‘shelf farms’ and human population scattered along this dramatic coastline is unique and wondrous. But is this farming sustainable, and can it continue? Or will the settlements become subject to the pressures of camping and cruise tourism, as some signs (and obtrusive) signage begin to indicate?”

Your Rating

Is this grade fair and up to date? If yes, say so. If no, what do you recommend, and why? Add a comment, considering the destination’s condition in terms of environment, historic preservation, aesthetics, tourism management, cultural and social impacts, and overall trend.


About Jonathan Tourtellot

CEO, Destination Stewardship Center; Editor, Destination Stewardship Report; Principal, Focus on Places LLC; founding Director, former Nat Geo Center for Sustainable Destinations

2 thoughts on “Norway’s Fjords: “A-” But Vulnerable

  1. Tourist boards in Norway are promoting mass tourism.
    BREAKING NEWS – but no surprise Thanks to no cruise control!
    AWARDS to Norwegian cruise ports from the cruise tycoons at Seatrade Cruise Global.
    Very fresh greetings from the tycoons to their comrades:
    Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO Frank Del Rio who received nearly $32 million in compensation in 2015: ‘I love destinations, – and ‘nothing else influences profitability like the destination does. ‘I love their history, – and most of all, I love them because they make us money,’
    MSC Cruises Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago: ‘What an incredible business this is, what an incredible future we have and what amazing toys we play with!’
    And the ports authorities are extremely proud of this shit.

    2017 – UN’s Year of Sustainable Tourism.
    Norway on sale to the cruise industry, no limits. Bergen – gateway to the fjords, here with 8 – eight – ships. Foto #bergenstidende
    Full speed ahead, no matter what the international media say about the need for change, conditions for crews – never mentioned, human rights – never mentioned, environmental issues – mentioned, but still no acts for a change, sustainability – mentioned all the time.
    The slogan is MORE MORE. And this kind of tourism is supported by #innovationnorway and tourist boards. No cruise control in Bergen and nowhere else in Norway.

    Beautiful Geiranger, Norway, is on the UNESCO list. Foto: #sunnmorsposten
    #newyorktimes Journalist when visiting: Get me out of here! And we promise, we still have some hidden gems and unspoiled places we would love to introduce you to. To the cruise industry we promise no limits.

    Paradiso perduto.
    Il Geirangerfjord è una meraviglia della natura, protetta dall’UNESCO. Formatosi durante l’ultima era glaciale, è considerato uno dei luoghi più spettacolari al mondo, coperto da lussureggiante vegetazione, con impressionanti cascate a strapiombo e circondato da vette innevate.Il paesino di Geiranger, 250 abitanti, è,sorprendentemente, il terzo porto crocieristico della Norvegia, con circa 180 approdi durante i 4 mesi della stagione estiva.

    Il nostro amico Klaus Gjukasten, che gestisce la pagina “Ending Sweat Ship Exploitation in the Cruise Industry”, ci ha inviato queste foto per testimoniare l’impatto ambientale e l’inquinamento dell’aria prodotto dalle grandi navi da crociera in habitat così preziosi e delicati…

    Sendt fra min iPad

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