Tourism is a major threat against world heritage areas all over the world. At the same time, tourism is also the industry that provides the biggest possibilities in regards to increasing value in the areas. By working with UNESCO the Nærøyfjord World Heritage Park can become a pilot scheme in how it is possible to develop a sustainable management of these areas.
Hanne Lykkje is leading a project about visitor management and local community development. She is an employee of the Nærøyfjord World Heritage Park, who is following through on the project on behalf of the World Heritage Council for the West Norwegian Fjords. The West Norwegian Fjords, consisting of the two areas of the Nærøyfjord and the Geirangerfjord, were inscribed onto the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2005.
During the summer of 2015 the Institute of Transport Economics (English text) and the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (English text) carried out surveys on tourists both from Norway and abroad. They received more than 3000 answers and researchers are using these responses to find out what type of value creation the different tourist groups are interested in. More knowledge is needed in order to find out what kind of tourism should be focused on locally.
Aurland Naturverkstad (some English text) have developed an analysis of the landscape which they will continue working on alongside the municipalities, conservation authorities, the tourism industry and the local communities. The goal is to find a balance between protecting important conservation values, providing a good experience for visitors and increasing the local value creation.
There have been local meetings where the authorities work with the local communities to gather information about which areas suits which types of tourism and which areas are facing challenges right now as well as develop suggestions for measures to be put in place to encourage a more active and whole conservation effort. Amongst other things the board for the conservation area has aimed to keep an eye on the washout of the beach zone of the Nærøyfjord, and they have been working to implement measures based on the knowledge they have gained.