Geirangerfjord Cruise Port: Geiranger – Hellesylt - Stranda
Sustainable development and management
The Geirangerfjord is inscribed on the UNESCO List of Natural World Heritage Sites and is one of Norway’s most attractive cruise destinations – and a proud member of Cruise Norway. This creates great expectations with regard to maintaining an appropriate balance between managing tourism and environmental considerations. We who live in this area are dependent on delivering a quality product to you, the customer, which involves a great responsibility on our part. This responsibility is what forms the basis for sustainable tourism.
We market a glossy image of clean, unspoiled nature, and a spectacular landscape, which tourists from all over the world are queuing up to experience – and which they expect to have delivered.
Today, our local area is at times put under great strain, and we also have a demanding infrastructure and challenging traffic systems. We have villages and communities with narrow streets and constrained central areas where logistics are supposed to function perfectly and the local populace to master the role of hospitable hosts at all times.
We in the Geirangerfjord and surrounding area have prepared a strategy in response to the increased focus on environmental problems caused by tourist traffic in the area. The pollution of the physical environment, both on land and at sea, has received significant media attention in recent years, and we must therefore exercise extra caution when it comes to potential sources of pollution.
We have an inland climate with relatively little fresh air influx and, with a warm summer climate and little wind, this can detract from the experience of the natural surroundings. In the 2010 season, measurements were taken of the water quality in the fjord, including filming of the fjord bed, as well as measurements of the air quality. The conclusion was that there is no pollution risk – the Geirangerfjord has a clean bill of health. This s a good statement for cruiselines.
Simultaneously with the environmental investigations and reports commissioned by the Geirangerfjord World Heritage Foundation, in partnership with the Port Authority and others we are seeking to recruit contributors to a major specific project. While it is important to ensure that all such activities are locally anchored, we also welcome the contributions of external participants.
What we are one hundred per cent sure of is that everything costs money and funding has to be prioritised – but we have no plans to increase the fees and charges in the area over and above normal price rises.
Challenge number 1 in the Geirangerfjord area is, in principle, the overall traffic situation, air quality, and discharges and emissions, including those from bus traffic. The flow of traffic in the fjord is, however, going smoothly and Stranda Port Authority is working continuously with quality assurance, environmental protection, and new investment.
Challenge number 2 is the frequent incidence of negative and partially incorrect claims about the physical environment, especially in Geiranger.
We have some key points in this respect that we would like to bring to your attention:
Hellesylt is currently atender port used in combination with Geiranger, but which will have a new, 114-metre quay ready for the 2012 season. This represents an investment of approximately 50 million Norwegian kroner.
Stranda has a new quay undergoing construction, and the destination itself also has one of the finestskiing facilities in Europe.
Geiranger Port is a well-known and well-functioning tender port with three anchoring positions depending on the size of vessel. There are plans here for new disembarkation facilities, made possible by the use of new quay technology. The planning work will be ongoing for the next 2-3 years.
Our greatest wish in Geiranger is to be able to offer environmentally-friendly tender facilities (powered by electricity, hydrogen and/or hybrid-powered), in cooperation with the supplier.
We aim to cooperate with stakeholders who have already executed various environmental initiatives, and we will map customer requirements and ensure satisfactory documentation.
We will maintain good working relations with the Norwegian Coastal Administration with respect to anchorage plans.
We will continue our work begun in 2007 in controlling traffic entering the area where we have three clear anchoring sites in Geiranger and the maximum number of cruise passengers is about 5,000.
We will work together with tour operators and ship owners to spread the traffic and actively use the cruise calendar on Cruise Norway’s website.
”Soft mobility holidays” is an exciting project being planned under the auspices of the Geiranger World Heritage Foundation. This is an environmentally-friendly initiative that we hope can contribute to changing people’s behaviour and to positive perceptions of the use of electric transport. Initially, this will mean using electric cars, buses, scooters and bicycles.
Value creation happens when everyone’s contribution is valued, and it is absolutely essential that we create the conditions for teamwork and involvement. By “we”, I mean the Norwegian government, local stakeholders and authorities, politicians, destination organisations, and users. This is a laborious task, but by using communication and information, and by exchanging experience, we are convinced that it is possible to find a common understanding and the motivation to promote sustainable tourism.
A clear framework of reference and allocation of responsibilities are also important. Expectations must be clearly set out.
Geirangerfjord Cruiseport looks forward to a good relationship, a common understanding and a shared focus on a clean environment in the future – and good business.
Thank you for your attention.