15 July 2013 • Silence, complete silence. Nature, overwhelming, green, beautiful nature. Water, black blue green, just how we love it and want to keep it.
This is Norway and it is the purest country I have ever seen.
We were in Norway for the conference concerning sustainable shore excursions organised by Cruise Gateway North Sea, The Interreg IVB North Sea Region Programme and Cruise Destination Hardangerfjord.
Sustainability is the word of the moment; we were interested what the input was going to be on this conference.
There was a good mix of speakers from the organizing companies, cruise lines and Norway representatives.
Cruise tourism has been growing the last years but mostly in the Mediterranean and the Baltic Seas. The North Sea region ports are still slowly building up their reputation. Focus is on sustainability including the promotion of environmental awareness and eco-friendly transport.
Harmony and nature are keywords in destination Eidfjord. They will not allow more than 4,000 passengers per day in their beautiful town. The natural and cultural heritage is too valuable.
Sustainability is a baseline for all tourism development in Norway and that we experienced every moment of our stay.
It was good to hear that also cruise lines (well at least some of them) are doing efforts to be sustainable. Gela Gudlat, Sustainability Manager Aida Cruises explained how her company cares about the environment. Aida introduced initiatives such as an environmental hour where an officer explains what is being done to be as “green” as possible. Healthy food and sustainable shore excursions with bikes are other examples of green ideas.
Samantha Richardson, Shore Operations Business Development Manager at Carnival UK talked about the sustainability report they made.
‘Think outside the coach’ is an idea I like. Apparently customers want to understand the destination. Carnival plays that card with organized home visits, introducing the local cuisine and nature trekking…
The conference took place in Eidfjord in hotel Voringfoss, beautifully located next to the breathtaking Hardangerfjord and the cruise quay. During the break I went to the waterfront and had all that beauty to myself. Would you not do anything to maintain this perfect nature?
After a visit to the Voringfossen, guided by a Dutch lady of Van der Tuuk Travel & Guiding service we sailed through the Hardangerfjord to our next destination, Ulvik. When I entered the room and I saw the view I had tears in my eyes. Normally Mike is the emotional one, this one it was little oh me.
Helge Møller welcoming the delegates on Eidfjord's cruise quay