Local councils more active in domestic tourism
Mayors around the country differ in their opinions on the new funding system which will replace the current state subsidies for tourist information centres.
With the current system, tourist information centres around the islands are allocated a share of DKK 1.5 million in annual state subsidies. From 1 January 2019, local councils and private operators will need to apply for funding from a larger pool of funding.
Heðin Zachariasen, the mayor of Sunda Municipality, which does not currently have a tourist information centre, is positive about the new funding system.
“This is a good system, which encourages cooperation between the state and the local councils.”
The town of Sørvágur, Vágar, has a very active tourist information centre, and it is therefore a shame to see the state subsidies disappear, says Aimé Jacobsen, the mayor of Sørvágur Municipality.
Dennis Holm, mayor of Vágur Municipality in Suðuroy, is wary of the new system. He said yesterday that the new system could easily pull the rug out from under small service providers in the domestic tourism industry.
But this will not happen, says Jóhan Pauli Helgason, the head of the development department at Visit Faroe Islands, which will allocate the funds under the new system.
Helgason says that the new system will give local councils much greater influence in the development of the domestic tourism industry.
Visit Faroe Islands’ development department was established only a few months ago, so it is a bit early to determine exactly the criteria under which appropriations will be given, he says.
Helgason is also keen to point out that the plan is to make the system as flexible as possible, taking into account the different needs of each local council.
Dennis Holm, mayor of Vágur Municipality, said yesterday that not enough resources are spent on developing the domestic tourism industry and that significantly more funds are needed for any positive change to occur.
Helgason responds to this saying that although it may be a bit early to determine exactly how much money is needed, the DKK 6 million allocated for 2019 will go a long way.
“It depends to a large degree on how much the local councils are willing to do themselves because this is certainly not only a task for the state. The local councils have a responsibility too.”
Translated by prosa.fo