I believe environmentally friendly tourism is very important. The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) have just unveiled the finalists for its 2012 Tourism for Tomorrow Awards, and the former mining town Røros is among the three finalists for one of the most important awards. That means that this old, mountain town have “successfully managed a sustainable tourism programme at the destination level, incorporating social, cultural, environmental, and economic benefits as well as multi-stakeholder engagement, as is written about the nominated.”
An outdoor café in between the old houses in Røros.
I live not far from Røros, and I am very happy for this nomination. Because this small town have done what many places in my region, that is the middle of Norway, have not. They have preserved their old houses, their cultural heritage as best they could. And they are rewarded again and again for this attitude. Last november they won the prize for Best Destination, Responsible Tourism Awards: “Attracting over one million visitors each year, the town of just 3700 inhabitants maintains its sense of place through a ‘local knowledge’ programme run for over 90 businesses, local food safaris and much more.”
Røros is not an museum. People live and work here, in the old houses. And every year in February, this year from the 21th to the 25th, there is a winter fair, Rørosmartnan. The market will be held for the 159 th time and surely attract more than 70.000 visitors. The opening ceremony is the most spectacular. In this time more than eighty equipages with horses and sleighs arrive from Sweden, and other places in Norway. Some of them arriving after travelling for up to 15 days in this old-fashioned manner. And it is cold in this region in this time of year. Often down to 15-25 degrees below zero, or even colder. These photos are from the opening parade in 2011.
Everybody can not do what Røros have done. Some places have to be modernized, and some of the old have to give way for new constructions. But it is such a great thing to know there are some places that take care of their cultural heritage. Here is a link to more of my photos from Rørosmartnan.
Røros is competing against Misool Eco Resort, in Indonesia, and Tanabe City, in Japan, for this last reward. The are 12 finalists all together, competing for four different prizes. The winners will be announced at WTTC’s annual Global Summit, held this year in Sendai, Tokyo, in Japan from 16-19 April.
The Tourism for Tomorrow Awards are organised in association with Travelport and the Travel Corporation’s Conservation Foundation. According to this organization travel and tourism accounts for 258 million jobs globally. At US$6 trillion the sector is a key driver for investment and economic growth. For more than 20 years, the World Travel & Tourism Council has been the voice of this industry globally.