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Mirek Dymitrow


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The Faroese model of (sustainable) destination marketing: Volunteering glorification, staying with locals, and experiencing gratitude


  • Weronika Lis
  • Mirek Dymitrow
  • Elżbieta Grzelak-Kostulska

Summary, in English

The case that constitutes the subject for this paper is a voluntourism project organized in the Faroe Islands that has gained worldwide attention. Unskilled volunteers were called to perform maintenance works while popular hiking trails remained closed for regular tourists. Thousands applied to build and mark trails in exchange for bed and board, while the idea was a successful marketing campaign for the Faroe Islands. Our study is anchored in theories on tourism destination image management and consumer behavior. Literature suggests that there is a growing number of tourists who make their travel choices based on the assessed sustainability of a place. This has informed the development of the broader concept of the destination image: an interpretation of reality within the tourist’s mind, based both on rationality and emotionality. It is evidenced that there is a connection between destination image and travelers’ purchases. Therefore, planning and implementing certain activities might lead to the creation of a destination image perceived as sustainable by potential visitors and improvement of a tourist destination’s competitiveness. This is an important part of development plans to align with tourist demands. We show how the voluntourism project is used within marketing and sustainability promotion. Our case adds value to studies on local authorities’ influence over the sustainable destination image and its competitiveness. In a broader perspective, it provides insights into research on the successful maintenance of supply and demand within tourism. Our findings help update the discussion on what this Faroese model might offer the civil society and tourism industry. Based on data gathered from quantitative (survey) and qualitative (participatory observation and interviews) methods, we discuss the Faroese model of destination image creation (DIC) and sustainability promotion (SP). We argue that engaging tourists in physical work, showing them gratitude, and inviting local people to participate: a) emphasizes Faroese values: respecting nature, a small community (DIC); b) instills a perception of the Faroe Islands as environmentally friendly (DIC); c) fosters more engaged tourists and reflective tourist behaviors (SP). We find that the Faroese model can be adopted by destinations threatened by overtourism that seek ready sustainable tourism solutions.


  • Institutionen för kulturgeografi och ekonomisk geografi






Konferensbidrag: abstract


  • Human Geography


  • voluntourism
  • sustainable transformation
  • Faroe Islands
  • destination
  • tourism

Conference name

Nordic Geographers’ Meeting

Conference date

2022-06-19 - 2022-06-22

Conference place

Joensuu, Finland