Sunday, November 16, 2008

Celebrity visits generate publicity

With former US president Bill Clinton and Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore in the country’s guest book, international media coverage could be causing the Faroes to emerge from obscurity—clearing the way for effective nation branding. Búi Tyril talks to Elin Heinesen, Managing Director of SamVit, Faroe Islands Enterprise, and others.

By Búi Tyril, Faroe Business Report 2008

When a panel of experts with National Geographic Traveler ranked the Faroe Islands as the world’s most appealing island destination, it was a convenient piece of news for the Faroe Islands Enterprise (SamVit), the merged Faroe Islands Trade Council and Faroe Islands Tourist Board.

The special appeared a few months after last summer’s visit of former US President Bill Clinton, and was in all likelihood a direct result of increased awareness of the country. President Clinton arrived with former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix to deliver the keynote speeches at a Tórshavn gathering of businesspeople and officials.

“This is the biggest news to hit the Faroe Islands since Christianity arrived about a thousand years ago,” Canada’s Toronto Star commented when the new broke that Mr Clinton had accepted the invitation from the House of Industry.

One year on, a search engine query on the phrase [Bill Clinton Faroe Islands] returned 21,100 results.

“That’s the point,” said SamVit managing director Elin Heinesen. “The Clinton-Blix event was a huge success and it’s still having a tremendous impact. The effects of such stories need time to filter through but… Well, as you see, this one received extensive media coverage.”

Next move: Get Nobel Peace Prize winner, former Vice President Al Gore featured at a conference on the subject of climate change, marine environment and energy. As this publication went to press, the TransAtlantic Climate Conference was to be held in Tórshavn on 7th and 8th April, featuring Mr Gore as keynote speaker, plus a host of experts from several countries.

“A new initiative focusing on climate changes in the Atlantic Ocean and climate challenges related to the ocean,” the TACC 08 was aimed “particularly at researchers, business people, civil society representatives and politicians in the North Atlantic region and the Nordic countries,” said the organizers—Bitland, House of Industry, SamVit, and NORA.

The idea as envisaged by SamVit: International media could be about to discover the Faroes and should be encouraged to follow through on stories related to the place—which many of them are happy to do as they’ll have a natural interest in catering to their audience’s growing taste for things out of the ordinary.

“What we offer is in demand out there,” Ms Heinesen said. “According to the latest reports on population trends, people living in big cities, for the first time in recorded history, now outnumber people living in rural areas. We’re noting an increased interest from foreign journalists, scientists, businesspeople, and tourists. I think what some of them see in our country is something missing elsewhere, maybe something that used to be there for them but disappeared somewhere along the way. So what the Faroes has is a mix that can bring back that feeling of serenity and yet fascinate at the same time.”

Clearly, whereas mass tourism is not what we’re looking at, business travel and ecotourism are.

Ranking the Faroe Islands on the top of its 111-long list of island destinations—ahead of the Azores and Lofoten with Shetland and Iceland trailing—Traveler quoted its experts in sustainable tourism and destination stewardship on the Faroes: “Lovely unspoiled islands—a delight to the traveler.”

The magazine added: “Remote and cool, and thus safe from overcrowding, the autonomous archipelago northwest of the Shetlands earns high marks from panelists for preservation of nature, historic architecture, and local pride.” Another quote from the panelists: “Spectacular waterfalls and harbors.”

The feature entitled “111 islands” warned against “tourism overkill” and other perils. “The world’s most appealing destinations—islands—are the ones most prone to tourism overkill,” it said. “Islands symbolize vacation. Escape! Their very insularity makes them more attractive than a comparable piece of real estate on the mainland. They are worlds unto themselves—their own traditions, ecosystems, cultures, landscapes. That’s what attracts us. But as microworlds, islands are also more vulnerable to population pressure, climate change, storm damage, invasive species, and now, tourism overkill.

Traveler and its National Geographic Center for Sustainable Destinations conducted the fourth annual Destination Scorecard survey, aided by George Washington University, “to see how the integrity of islands around the world is holding up. A panel of 522 experts in sustainable tourism and destination stewardship donated time to review conditions in these 111 selected islands and archipelagos.”

Said Ms Heinesen: “The coverage we’ve received will doubtlessly attract more tourists. But beyond that, it helps us in terms of nation branding.”

It’s all in the mix

Interview with Ms. Elin Brimheim Heinesen, Managing Director of SamVit - Faroe Islands Enterprise

By Búi Tyril, Faroe Business Report 2008

Their outlook is increasingly global yet people in the Faroes are proud of their national identity—after all, the unique Faroese culture is alive and kicking, their islands are truly beautiful, and their fishing is the envy of the world.

Rumor has it that the man credited for introducing the term ‘nation branding’ not long ago called the Faroe Islands “the Shangri La of the 21st century.” Assuming there is verifiable substance behind the alleged statement, a first question to follow would be: In using such words about this very small country, what does an international authority on branding of places mean to imply?

According to the Economist, “Simon Anholt is one of the world’s leading advisers to governments who wish to build global brands.” Now that does lend a touch of class to whatever he has to say about the competitiveness of any place. The man behind “the first analytical ranking of the world’s nation brands”—the Anholt Nation Brands Index—has in fact developed a method of surveying tens of thousands of consumers in dozens of countries on their “perceptions of the cultural, political, commercial and human assets, investment potential and tourist appeal of each nation.”

True, as a brand, the Faroes may still have a long way to go. It takes financial muscle to run sizeable marketing campaigns. But something is on the move, says Elin Heinesen, managing director of SamVit, also known as the Faroe Islands Enterprise.

“Globalization appears to be an unstoppable megatrend that brings a lot of great things,” Ms Heinesen says. “Its influence penetrates everyday life in the Faroes as well as everywhere else; but it nonetheless poses many challenges for communities around the world. One of the major problems with modern life as experienced in big cities is the eradication of cultural differences—the lack of diversity undermines people’s sense of uniqueness and distinction. In this context, the Faroes is becoming attractive because of our special combination, somehow representing the opposite of what many city dwellers are growing weary of, and yet exciting at the same time.”

Once you’re there, the funny thing about this closely knit, self governing community in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean is first and foremost its constantly manifested, stunning contrasts that keep coming at you.

Starting with road infrastructure, the 48,000 strong island nation enjoys building roads and submarine tunnels for billions of Danish krones (hundreds of millions of euros). What kind of proportions would that translate into in your home country? You do the math.

You may try to touch upon any controversial subject in the Faroes; succeed (difficult for anyone not local) and you’ll have people going on forever over peanuts. But ask anyone for a helping hand—no, don’t even ask—and you’ll be treated to genuine generosity of the kind that will make you feel like home.

Again, expect surprise.

Now, try to push a Faroese for a decision on some relatively important issue, something that bureaucrats elsewhere would spend months on, and you’ll be amazed at the most prompt expediency you’ve ever seen. Take another angle and ask any Faroese manager what his or her time schedule will look like over the next few weeks, and the most likely answer: “Well, it depends…”

Hence the old nickname, the Land of Maybe. But again, note the contradicting combination of spontaneous swiftness and ready submission to the force majeure that be.

“The Maybe factor has been on the retreat for half a century but it’s undeniably still there,” Ms Heinesen says. “The weather still decides a lot, and the ocean is still by far our most important source of income.”

Indeed, fishing and the ocean is the very life of the Faroe Islands, yet the majority of the population is employed in private and public services. Then there’s the arts and crafts, Ms Heinesen points out.

“Our traditions in arts and crafts are held in high esteem and I believe their continuance is extremely important,” she says.

“There are strong currents driving opportunities in our direction—foreigners see something new, different and unspoiled in our culture. At the same time, we have up and coming Faroese music artists gaining audiences around the world, and the same goes for several clothing designers.”

So while Internet technology and universal awareness of global issues are placing these islands firmly on the world map, the Faroese are themselves keen on keeping their cultural balance intact—as well as the ecological one—and learning to capitalize on it. Otherwise, a community entirely dependent on the sustainable harvesting of its marine resources would neither survive nor prosper.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Frá veiðusamfelag til vitanarsamfelag III

Eftir Elin Heinesen, stjóra í SamViti

Høvuðsvinna okkara er í kreppu, og tosað verður tí um víðagitna triðja beinið, sum skal bjarga búskapinum. Men hvussu skapa vit betri fortreytir fyri menning av verandi vinnu og fyri ørðum lønandi vinnum? Tiltrúgvin til møguleikarnar tykist ikki stór. “Tað ber ikki til!” verður ofta tikið til. Men júst hesin hugburður er helst størsta forðingin. Vit hava brúk fyri at fokusera á møguleikar og suksessøgur, heldur enn á forðingar og at grenja um gongdina og hvønnannan.

Skulu vit skapa betri grundarlag fyri neyðugari vinnumenning og búskaparvøkstri, mugu vit tora at siga: Jú, tað ber til! Tað ber til við at hugsa øðrvísi og lata upp fyri at síggja møguleikar aðrastaðni, enn vit fyrr hava sæð teir. Hvussu ber tað til, at New Zealand kann selja seyðakjøt og Thailand kann selja rækjur í Føroyum? Lond, sum liggja hinumegin knøttin! Hvat duga tey, sum vit ikki duga?

Hetta eiga vit at læra av. Eisini kunnu vit læra av, hvussu lond, vit samanlíkna okkum við, t.d. hava samantvinnað handilsliga og mentanarliga fatan í nógv størri mun enn vit. Og vit kunnu læra av, hvussu onnur við stórum viðburði hava dugað at ment vitanar- og upplivingarsamfelagið ígjøgnum fokus á nýskapan, nýhugsan, tøkniligt knowhow og vørumenning.

Samstarv flytir okkum inn í nýggja búskapin
Fyrst mugu vit flyta fokus. Fremstu kappingarneytar okkara eru ikki at finna innanfyri landoddarnar, men eru útlendskar fyritøkur. Heldur enn at brúka orku uppá óneyðuga dýra innanhýsis kapping, eiga vit at vera opin fyri jaligum og fordómsfríum samskifti innanhýsis í føroyskari vinnu, millum tað almenna og vinnuna, og millum føroyingar og áhugapartar uttanlands – og ganga saman um at náa málum, øll hava felags áhuga í.

Ein møguleiki er at semjast um heildarætlanir fyri ymisku vinnurnar, ið skulu tryggja, at politiska skipanin ikki leggur óneyðugar løgfrøðiligar, handilsligar og aðrar forðingar í vegin, og at vinnan ikki leggur óneyðugar forðingar fyri sær sjálvari, men heldur samstarvar, har samstarv er møguligt til gagns fyri allar partar. Hetta samstarvið er alneyðugt, um vit veruliga skulu flyta okkum inn í nýggja búskapin.

Vilja vit ganga nýggjar leiðir, og vilja vit samstarva og netverka eisini tvørtur um siðbundin mørk og tvørtur um landamørk, har tað ber til, standa vit nógv sterkari úteftir. Soleiðis tryggja vit eisini nýskapandi og virðisøkjandi kreftum bestu umstøður, so enn fleiri og fjølbroyttari virðisskapandi fólk dragast at hesum landi.

Mugu leggja dent á vakstrar- og útflutningsvinnu
Men til tess at náa hesum máli má nógv størri fokus vera á vakstrar- og útflutningsvinnu – serliga á at menna handils-, tænastu-, vitanar-, ferða- og upplivingarvinnu (vinnur, sum við altjóða heitum eru: BornGlobal og/ella BornCreative), tí tað er har, vit hava stórar møguleikar fyri víðkan. Tað er har akademisku førleikarnir veruliga gera mun. Og tað er har framtíðar møguleikarnir fyri búskaparvøkstri liggja. Tað er ikki løtuverk, men eru vit framsíggin og proaktiv, økja vit okkara tjansir at skapa ein væl sterkari búskap, enn vit hava í dag.

Einki er til hindurs fyri, at eisini vit kunnu gera okkara vitan, okkara mentan og okkara umhvørvi til eitt jarnbrot fyri vøkstur og menning her á landi, og harvið skapa fyrimyndarligan gróðrarbotn fyri framtøk, ið skapa áhuga út um landamørk og vøkstur fyri samfelagið sum heild. Her er vitanar- og upplivingarbúskapurin (herundir t.d. ferðavinna) ein hóskandi vegur at ganga hjá okkum í Føroyum, tí her hava vit kanska betri kort á hondini enn tey flestu, um vit bara duga at brúka tey. Fyrimunurin við vitanar- og upplivingarbúskapinum er, at vit kunnu framleiða vørur, sum eru eindømi, og sum ikki kunnu hópframleiðast – serliga tá upplivingarnar er tengdar at landinum, vit búgva í.

Framtíðin liggur í nichuvørum
Siðbundna vinnan og ídnaðurin liggur í blóðugari kapping við onnur, sum framleiða nøkurlunda somu vørur nógv bíligari, og steðgar meira ella minni upp í løtuni. Meðan vinnur, ið framleiða virðisskapandi vitan, unikkar vørur, tænastur og upplivingar, eru í stórum vøkstri. Tí er tað av serstakliga stórum týdningi, at vit byrja at fokusera á, hvat vit kunnu framleiða av øðrvísi, serstøkum vørum og tænastum – ítøkiligum sum óítøkiligum virðum. Samstundis mugu vit duga at gagnnýta øll, sum kunnu geva sítt ískoyti til nýggja búskapin – til vørumenning og til munadygga marknaðarføring. Vit mugu bjóða bestu og mest nýskapandi arbeiðsmegini bestu møguleikarnar fyri at liva og virka her á landi. Til ber at byrja tíðliga við t.d. at bjóða lesandi praktikkpláss í føroyskum fyritøkum, har tey kunnu loysa viðkomandi vinnuligar uppgávur.

Føroyskar vørur og tænastur umboða nichur á altjóða marknaðinum, sum hava góðan møguleika at vekja ans millum partar av altjóða keyparaskaranum. Her ræður um at gera rættar íløgur, og vita, hvar íløgurnar gera størsta munin. Tvs. málrætta vørumenning og marknaðarføring til úrvaldar marknaðir og málbólkar á ein hátt, sum bindir saman vørunnar uppruna og trúvirði við fatanina fyri tørvinum í tí serstaka marknaðinum, har vøran skal seljast.

Hjáútvinsla ein góður møguleiki
Vit hava eina siðbundna fiskivinnu, sum als ikki brúkar allar teir møguleikar, sum liggja í rávøruni – fiskinum. T.d. er Danmark størsta insulinútflytandi landið í heiminum í dag, tí danir dugdu at menna nýggjar møguleikar burturúr hjáútvinsluni frá teirra umfatandi siðbundu svínaframleiðslu. Soleiðis eiga eisini at liggja aðrir – kanska stórir – møguleikar í okkara høvuðsvinnu, sum vit bara kunnu fáa eyga á, um vit tora at hugsa og gera tingini eitt sindur øðrvísi, enn vit plaga.

Summi eru gingin undan við nýhugsan, so heilt eiðasør eru vit ikki. Men vit eiga at gera væl meira burtur úr hesum. Kunnu vit t.d. fáa meira burtur úr fiskalivur ella fiskaskræðu? Kunnu vit fáa meira orku burturúr vindi, aldum og streymi, sum vit hava so ríkiligt av? Liggja ótroyttir møguleikar í upplivingar- og ferðavinnu? Her má gransking og íløgur til fyri at skapa fortreytir fyri vørumenning og dyrkan av nýggjum marknaðum.

Meira beinrakin marknaðarføring
Tørvur er á at gera føroyskar vørur og tænastur sjónligari og lættari tilgeingiligar á altjóða marknaðinum tey røttu støðini – serstakliga umvegis internetið, tí internetið er ein alráðandi miðil, sum kollveltir heimsmarknaðin í løtuni. Tað er blivið meira ómakaleyst enn nakrantíð hjá fólki at leita sær vitan um vørur – og at bíleggja og keypa tær, hóast tær verða framleiddar hinumegin knøttin. Hetta hevur rættiliga sett ferð á alheimsgerðina. Keyp og søla fer í stórliga vaksandi mun meira og meira fram ímillum smærri eindir – peer to peer – sum kunnu liggja nógvar túsund kilometrar burtur frá hvørjum øðrum. Tað ger ikki mun. Hetta er eitt nýtt atferðarmynstur á marknaðinum, sum veruliga kann koma okkum, sum eru so smá, til fyrimuns.

Her mugu vit finna fram til, hvussu vit t.d. kunnu gera okkum galdandi á einum alheimsmarknað, har kappingin er beinhørð og harðnar alt meira, jú fleiri brúka internetið. Tað er hesari avbjóðing, vit mugu møta. Hvussu raka vit rætt, og hvussu eydnast vit við einari marknaðarføring, sum kann skapa kensluna av samleika og samkenning – tvs. inspirera fólk til at hugsa: “Hetta er ‘cool’ fyri meg at keypa”?

Hvussu hugtaka vit onnur?
Um vit vilja økja okkara umsetning, mugu vit duga at spinna vørur okkara inn í søgur, sum fáa fólk til at tilleggja vørunum meira týdning ella meira virði, enn vøran í sær sjálvum ítøkiliga hevur, og soleiðis geva vørunum ein samleika, sum ger, at tær verða lagdar merki til og kendar aftur. T.d. at lýsa vørurnar í einum samleikaskapandi og/ella sniðgevingarligum høpi á ein slíkan hátt, at fólk antin kenna seg aftur, vera hugtikin ella bara halda, tað er spennandi og ‘cool’ at keypa júst eina tílíka vøru, tí tað sigur júst teimum nakað serligt.

Tað er tí, tað er so neyðugt, at vit saman finna út av, hvat okkara brand er. Hvat er okkara styrki. Hvat er okkara ‘genious’. Hvussu brúka vit tað? Hvussu vísa vit okkara vørur fram á ein lættan og brúkaravinarligan hátt? Hvussu møta vit eftirspurninginum úti í heimi og seta okkara vørur inn í hetta høpi? Og hvussu fortelja vit søgurnar um vørur okkara á ein áhugavekjandi, hugtakandi og minnisverdan hátt? Hvørjir eru møguleikarnir at koordinera tað við ferðavinnu og annað sum stuðlar uppundir brandið? So sum tey t.d. hava gjørt á Læsø, har siðbundna saltframleiðslan á oynni eisini er ein stór ferðafólkaattraktión, sum er við til at stuðla uppundir brandið ‘Læsø salt’. (

Ganga saman um at branda okkum
Øll kunnu sjálvandi royna at gera hetta hvør sær – tvs. hvør fyritøka brandar seg individuelt og klárar seg sum best soleiðis. Men í stóra samanhanginum eru føroyskar fyritøkur mikroskopiskar. Ofta er úrslitið bara, at avmarkaða fíggjarorkan hjá okkara lutvíst sera smáu fyritøkum ger alt ov lítlan mun, og at fyritøkurnar so ístaðin kappast ósunt og køva hvønnannan innanhýsis, áðrenn tær nakrantíð eru náddar út í heim.

Ein annar – meira konstruktivur møguleiki er at ganga saman í netverk fyri øll, sum síggja fyrimunirnar í at arbeiða saman fyri at standa sterkari í kappingini frá útheiminum og skapa ein meira vitanar- og upplivingargrundaðan búskap í Føroyum.

Til ber at seta sær mál og gera heildarætlanir saman – í netverkum ella tvørfakligum bólkum – t.d. ætlanir fyri, hvussu fiskivinna kann fáa betri nyttu burtur úr menniskjansliga tilfeinginum, eisini teim væl útbúnu – og hvussu vit gera hetta tilfeingið meira tøkt. Hetta er ein háttur at seta ferð á vakstrar- óg útflutningsvinnu og skapa synergi til gagns fyri bæði einstakar fyritøkur, føroyska vinnu og samfelagið sum heild.

Elin Heinesen, stjóri í SamViti, sept. 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Frá veiðusamfelag til vitanarsamfelag II

Eftir Elin Heinesen, stjóra í SamViti

Fyritreytirnar fyri at skapa kappingarføri snúgva seg í dag í høvuðsheitum um evnini hjá vinnulívinum til at skifta frá reinari rávøru- og ídnaðarframleiðslu sum fremstu búskaparligu drívmegi til meira fjølbroyttar og handilsligar tænastur – harímillum at draga skikkaða arbeiðsmegi til, sum hevur førleikar til at menna og marknaðarføra vørur. 

Førleikar til at samskifta eru avgerandi fyri menningina av nýggjum vørum og vinnum. Førleikar til at savna og skifta um virðismikla vitan hava týdning fyri, at nýggj hugskot verða ment – t.d. hugskot til bíligari og burðardyggari framleiðsluhættir. Førleikar til at kunna, marknaðarføra og selja, hava týdning fyri, at vørurnar røkka einum so stórum kundaskara sum gjørligt. Tað er í hesi virðisskapan, at t.d. akademikararnir kunnu koma vinnuni til hjálpar.

At fáa fleiri skikkaði virðisskapandi fólk til at velja at búgva og arbeiða í Føroyum er ein av okkara allarstørstu avbjóðingum í løtuni. Vit mangla akademikarar, lesandi, granskarar og nýskapandi íverksetarar, umframt ikki minst kvinnur og barnafamiljur. At skapa eitt samfelag, sum kann draga at sær fólk uttanífrá – eisini vitjandi, sum leggja pengar eftir seg – er ein fyritreyt fyri búskaparvøkstri og fyri størri fjølbroytni í vinnuni. Men hvussu væl megna vit hesar avbjóðingar? Tað gongur heldur striltið í løtuni. Tí má ein sjálvrannsakan til.

Virða vit tey, ið skapa óítøkiligu virðini?
Vinnan spælir ein stóran leiklut – ikki minst fiskivinnan, sum eins og onnur vinna má viðurkenna, at tað kann loysa seg at gera størri íløgur í handilsliga, tænastuveitandi og akademiska arbeiðsmegi, hóast hon í fyrstu atløgu tykist dýr. Men sum er, leggur høvuðsvinna okkara enn fyrst og fremst áherðslu á tað siðbundna – at veiða og framleiða, har tað í stóran mun ræður um at fiska so nógv sum gjørligt so skjótt sum gjørligt og fáa sum mest fyri rávøruna. Vinnan tykist í ov lítlan mun at vilja hava brúk fyri tí, sum akademikarar kundu lagt aftrat – t.d. í mun til at fáa meira fyri minni.

Halda vit framhaldandi fast í einum ikki-burðardyggum hugburði, sum restin av heiminum er í ferð við at flyta seg burturfrá, kunnu vit bara rokna við at verða rakt av kreppu – ikki bara orsaka av høgum oljuprísum, men av svíkjandi fiskastovnum, av ov lágum prísum fyri okkara vørur, av manglandi arbeiðsmegi osfr. Hetta er spell, tá veruleikin er, at fleiri og fleiri føroyingar eru vælútbúnir og kundu givið sítt týðandi íkast til størri virðisskapan og til at skapa eina meira burðardygga vinnu. Men hetta virðismikla menniskjansliga tilfeingið tykist ikki at vera virðismett sum uppiborið og als ikki brúkt optimalt í Føroyum.

Ein kærkomin hjálpandi hond
Tey útbúnu ynskja sjálvandi at fáa høvi til at brúka sína vitan og førleikar. Men sum er nú, brúka nógv av okkara væl útbúnu fólkum sínar førleikar aðrastaðni. Mong hugsa enn ikki tankan, at tað ber til at koma heim, tí akademiskir førleikar verða lítið eftirspurdir í føroyskari vinnu – í øllum førum ikki í siðbundnu vinnuni. Teir verða næstan bara eftirspurdir í tí almenna. Hugburðurin hjá akademikarum og ikki-akademikarum er ofta ymiskur. Hetta er við til at skapa spenningar millum tað almenna og vinnuna, sum ofta tykjast nærmast at mótarbeiða hvørjum øðrum heldur enn at síggja seg sum eitt ískoyti til hvønnannan. Mong útbúgvin fólk, sum eru komin heim fyri at royna seg í vinnuni, siga seg uppliva at verða meira ella minni sæð sum ónyttur, ið ikki vita, hvat ‘veruligt arbeiði’ snýr seg um, so tí ber ikki til at lurta eftir teimum. Hetta ger tað ikki hugaligari at koma heim til Føroya at liva og virka.

Samstundis er lønarlagið væl lægri í Føroyum fyri akademikarar enn í londunum kring okkum, skattlig viðurskifti við flyting til Føroya ófyrimunarlig, umframt at tað er dýrt bæði at búgva og keypa vørur her. Ei undur í, at nógv aftra seg við at fara til Føroya at søkja sær arbeiði. Ístaðin fyri at mála fíggindamyndir og síggja útbúgvin fólk sum mótstøðufólk, ónyttur ella óneyðugar útreiðslur, átti vinnan at sæð tey útbúnu sum eina kærkomna hjálpandi hond til eina vinnu, sum er í kreppu og hevur hart brúk fyri hesi hjálpini.

Gamlir dreingir fáa ikki eftirkomarar
Hetta kundi samstundis eisini hjálpt uppá ójavnvágina millum kynini í Føroyum, har kvinnur eru í
undirskoti – av góðum orsøkum. Kvinnur eru í miðal betri útbúnar enn menn og arbeiða siðbundið eisini nógv í handils- og tænastuvinnu, men tað er ikki stórt útboð av teimum størvunum í Føroyum í mun til í økjum við størri fólkamiðsavnan uttanlands, sum virka sum magnetir uppá okkara kvinnur og lesandi. Vit síggja tí, hvussu nógvar kvinnur og lesandi ikki venda aftur til Føroya, um tey flyta av landinum, tí møguleikarnir eru betri hjá teimum í øðrum fólkaríkari økjum fyri meira lønandi, spennandi og avbjóðandi arbeiði og fyri at liva minni kostnaðartungt enn her.

Um vit ikki gera nakað nú við støðuna her heima, økist vandin fyri, at hetta landið endar við at vera eitt samfelag av ófaklærdum gomlum dreingjum, sum búgva á bygd og arbeiða í fiskivinnu. Alt gott um teir annars, men teir fáa ikki eftirkomarar. Vit síggja longu, fólkavøksturin er uppsteðgaður.

Mugu geva rúm fyri fjølbroytni
Um Føroyar skal vera eitt liviligt og spennandi samfelag við eins høgum livifóti sum t.d. í hinum Norðanlondunum, og við eini væl fjølbroyttari íbúgvarasamanseting, har lesandi, vælútbúgvin fólk og kvinnur, sum kunnu føða børn, eisini trívast – er tíðin komin til at hugsa í munadyggum vakstrarstrategium, sum vinnan og tað almenna mugu ganga saman um at skapa í felag, so allir partar hála somu línu og rudda vegin fyri hvønnannan.

Um ikki lívið skal bløða spakuligt út úr hesum samfelagnum, mugu vit syrgja fyri at draga nógv fleiri og meira virðisskapandi og reproduktivar kreftir til Føroya. Vit mugu hava fólkaríkari samanhangandi meginøki í Føroyum, sum geva rúm fyri størri fjølbroytni – og tí virka meira dragandi fyri fleiri. Vit hava nógvar avbjóðingar fyri framman, sum vit mugu møta og loysa.

Mugu raðfesta inntøkugevandi átøk
Spurningurin er, hví stórir partar av vinnuni og ávísir politikkarar ikki meta støðuna í mun til stóru myndina, men royna at trumfa áhugamál hjá lokalsamfeløgum ella ávísum pørtum av vinnuni ígjøgnum. Harvið halda tey fast í, at vit framhaldandi skulu hava eitt einstreingjað og siðbundið veiðusamfelag, sum í longdini kortini ikki er burðardygt og útihýsir so nógvum møguleikum, heldur enn at gera íløgur í virðisskapandi nýskapan, sum kundi stovnfest vinnuna betri og skapt nógv fleiri arbeiðspláss – m.a. til tey, sum nú búgva uttanlands, umframt nógv størri møguleikar fyri inntøkum og spennandi avbjóðingum – júst tað, sum okkara væl útbúna arbeiðsmegin eftirlýsir.

Tað gongur uttan iva út yvir samfelagsbúskapin í væl størri mun, enn vit geva okkum far um, um vinnan og tað almenna ikki hugsa meira yvirskipað og gera meira fyri at draga – og brúka – útbúnað ella akademiska virðisskapandi arbeiðsmegi, so vit kunnu styrkja vinnuna og fáa tann neyðuga búskaparvøksturin, ið t.d. skal bera tær vaksandi almennu útreiðslurnar til heilsuverk og tunnellir o.a.

Gransking, menning og marknaðarføring má til
Um politiska skipanin bara átekur sær ein reglubindandi eftirlitsleiklut og áleggur landskassanum fleiri og fleiri útreiðslur til ikki-inntøkugevandi íløgur, har øktu útreiðslurnar verða fíggjaðar við at leggja enn hægri skattir og avgjøld á fólk, uttan samstundis at gera kakuna størri – tvs. gera íløgur í átøk, sum geva samfelagnum sum heild størri inntøkur – so verður úrslitið eitt fíggjarligt trýst á vinnuna og á einstaka borgaran, ið sannlíkt útarmar gjaldførið og kvinkar príslagið enn longur uppeftir, sum aftur ger, at samfelagið gerst minni attraktivt fyri tey vælútbúnu at búseta seg og arbeiða í. Tað bítur seg sjálvt í halan.

Tí er tað altavgerandi, at politiska skipanin raðfestir íløgur í skilagóð átøk, ið mest sannlíkt økja samfelagsinntøkurnar og harvið gjaldførið skjótast gjørligt.

Hvørja nyttu kann tað almenna gera?
Ikki øll halda, at tað almenna eigur at blanda seg uppí vinnumenning. Í útgangsstøðinum er tað sjálvandi altíð sunnast, at vinnan megnar at standa á egnum beinum, men í ávísum førum kann tað almenna gera stóra nyttu í mun til at lata hurðar upp og lætta umstøðurnar fyri vinnu við vakstrar- og útflutningsmøguleikum. Spurningurin er, hvar tað almenna røkkur – ella hvat tað almenna kann, sum privata vinnulívið ikki kann ella ikki raðfestir, tí tað ikki hevur orkuna at gera íløgurnar í tað. Her kann tað almenna traðka til sum ein virðismikil sparringspartnari fyri vinnuna.

Tað almenna kann stuðla ella gera íløgur í virðisskapandi gransking, hagtalssavnan og onnur amboð, sum vinnan hevur fyri neyðini í mun til at fremja vørumenning og betri, meira samskipaða og effektiva marknaðarføring av Føroyum og føroyskum vørum og tænastum, har vinnan ikki einsamøll megnar at lyfta uppgávuna.Tað almenna kann lata hurðar upp á týðandi millumlanda og hægri politiskum stigi – t.d. ígjøgnum samstarv við útlendskar almennar stovnar sum hava týdning fyri fremjan av vinnumálum. Tað almenna gevur ofta eina ávísa tign til vinnulig átøk við, at almennir persónar/embætisfólk luttaka og lyftir harvið týdningin av átakinum í eygunum á útlendskum handilspartnarum og fjølmiðlum. Og tað almenna er meira óheft enn vinnan av serstøkum handilsligum áhugamálum, tí tað hevur skyldu til at tæna samfelagnum sum heild og kann tí spæla ein savnandi leiklut, har sum tað gevur eyðsæddar fyrimunir, at vinnan stendur saman.

Meira um, hvat skal til fyri at venda búskaparligu gongdini í næstu grein, sum kemur í morgin.

Elin Heinesen, stjóri í SamViti, sept. 2008

Monday, September 15, 2008

Frá veiðusamfelag til vitanarsamfelag I

Eftir Elin Heinesen, stjóra í SamViti

Politiska kreppan, vit uppliva í løtuni, er eitt av eyðkennunum fyri búskaparrembingarnar og hugburðsbroytingarnar, sum føroyska samfelagið fer ígjøgnum í hesum tíðum. Umskifti henda altíð við gníggingum millum gamalt og nýtt. Vit eru mitt í einum ættarliðsskifti – og tað gongur ikki altíð fyri seg við mýkindum. Men uppgerðin er neyðug at taka, um vit ynskja at flyta okkum inn í nýggju tíðina og varðveita okkara vælferð framyvir.

Hetta er ikki nakað, sum hendir bara her heima hjá okkum. Men munurin er helst tann, at hjá okkum er størri munur á ættarliðunum, tí menningin frá veiðusamfelag til vitanarsamfelag hendir yvir styttri tíð.

Kring heimin snýr umskiftið seg í løtuni nógv um, at fleiri og fleiri fólk viðurkenna, at náttúran ikki er nøkur ótømandi kelda, og at vit ikki kunnu hava búskaparskipanir, sum taka útgangsstøði í, at óendaligur vøkstur er møguligur, tí veruleikin er, at ítøkiliga tilfeingið er avmarkað. Vit kunnu ikki troyta náttúrutilfeingið óavmarkað, men mugu liva og virka í burðardyggari javnvág við náttúruna.

Alheimssamfelagið er tí sum heild á veg úr einum eldri hugburði, har fólk mest mettu sín status í mun til, hvussu nógv, tey kundu forbrúka og upphópa av ognum, til ein hugburð, har fólk nú meira meta sín status í mun til meira óítøkilig virði, sum snúgva seg um sínámillum viðurkenning – um hvørji vit eru, hvat vit gera og hvat vit uppliva, umframt ikki minst hvussu vit kunnu geva okkara íkast til at varðveita náttúrutilfeingið (við øðrum orðum burðardygd). Henda hugburðsbroyting kollveltir forbrúksmynstrið og alheimsmarknaðin í løtuni.

Á veg inn í vitanarsamfelagið
Líka mikið hvat vit í Føroyum gera ella ikki, so eru eisini vit tí á veg inn í ein búskap, har virðir í vaksandi mun eru tengd at meira óítøkiligum viðurskiftum, sum hava t.d. við samleika, vitan, samskifti, og upplivingar at gera. Vitanar- og upplivingarbúskapurin hevur í teimum londum, vit samanbera okkum við, langt síðani yvirhálað veiðu- og ídnaðarbúskapin sum fremsti virðisskapari. Norðanlond t.d. byggja tí í dag sítt ríkidømi fyrst og fremst uppá vitan og nýskapan ella innovatión, serliga í mun til burðardygga vinnu.

Henda veruleika mugu vit í Føroyum viðurkenna og lata okkum í til, um vit, eins og onnur, skulu gera okkum nakra vón um at vera kappingarfør í mun til umheimin. Vinnan kann ikki longur lata sum um, at veruleikin og marknaðurin enn er skrúvaður saman sum fyri 30, 20 ella bara 10 árum síðani. Okkara vinnulív má laga seg eftir nýggju meira óítøkiligu vilkorunum og stremba eftir burðardygd. “Change or die” ella “Innovate or die” verður sagt millum vinnulívsfólk úti í heimi.

Bestu søgurnar skapa størsta vinningin
Vit kunnu ikki longur dúva einans uppá rávøru- og framleiðsluídnað, tí hóast tað sjálvandi er og altíð vil vera ein stórur marknaður fyri grundleggjandi neyðsynjarvørum sum mati t.d., eru tað ikki longur bara tær fysisku vørurnar í sær sjálvum ella fysiskir eginleikar við vørunum, sum hava virði fyri keyparan. Virði á vørum verður í størri og størri mun mett eftir, um vørurnar onkusvegna styrkja samleikan hjá keyparanum – t.d. keypa nógv fólk vistfrøðiligt, tí tað fær tey at føla seg sum betri menniskju at eta sunnari og gera nakað gott fyri náttúruna.

Keyparin hevur lyndi at velja vørur eftir virðum, sum verða løgd aftrat fysisku vørueginleikunum og rindar ofta upp til fleirfaldað fyri hetta meirvirði. Tí síggja vit ofta, at vørur kunnu hava fullkomiliga eins fysiskar eginleikar, men heilt ymiskan prís, tí mesta virði liggur ikki í fysisku eginleikunum. T.d. kostar ein vanligur pakki við einum kg av salti um 6 kr. Beint við síðuna av stendur ein annar pakki við somu nøgd av salti, sum kostar 36 kr. Munurin á góðskuni ella framleiðsluhátti rættvísger sum so ikki ein so stóran prísmun. Tað, sum ger størsta munin, er, at tað stendur Læsø salt á dýrara pakkanum. Søgan um, at saltið kemur úr Læsø, virðisøkir sostatt saltið við 600 prosentum! (Les um Læsø salt her:

Tað er alneyðugt, at vit í Føroyum fata týdningin av, hvussu stórt árin góðar søgur kunnu hava, og at vit byrja at brúka hesa tilvitan meira í okkara vinnulívi. Góðar søgur hava ikki bara týdning fyri príssetingina av vøruni, men ofta eisini í mun til at byggja eina heila síðuvinnu upp kring vøruna, eins og tey hava gjørt á Læsø, har ein lønandi ferðavinna er bygd upp um saltútvinsluna.

Kappast um hugskot og søgur
Vit síggja, hvussu virðisskapan í størri og størri mun fer fram í gjøgnum vøru- og konseptmenning – har nýggjar vørur verða uppfunnar, ella verða mentar til at hóska til serligan tørv ella kring eitt ávíst konsept – umframt ígjøgnum at vørur verða spunnar inn í søgur og sniðgeving, sum tala til kenslulív, lívsvirðir og samleika. Okkara kappingarneytar kappast tí mest um, hvør kann finna uppá mest sermerktu hugskotini og siga bestu søgurnar.

Hetta er eitt annað fokus enn tað, vit vanliga hava haft í Føroyum, har vit higartil hava roynt at varðveita ein siðbundnan reinan ídnað – tvs. fyrst og fremst fiskiveiðu, ráfiskakeyp og –sølu – sum higartil hevur troytt náttúrutilfeingið so nógv sum gjørligt, ofta langt út yvir tað burðardygga, ístaðin fyri at fokusera uppá at skapa meirvirði burtur úr tilgeingiliga tilfeinginum ígjøgnum innovatión, kreativa vørumenning og ígjøgnum marknaðarføring og ‘storytelling’, sum tykist verða undirmett og ofta raðfest sera lágt.

Føroysk vinna má saðla um
Hugburðurin serliga í høvuðsvinnu okkara er serstakliga nógv tengdur at sjálvari veiðu- og framleiðslumentanini, har vónin verður løgd í at forvinna so nógv sum gjørligt, tá ráfiskaprísurin er høgur – og annars bara bíða eftir betri tíðum. Hetta – saman við ytri ávirkanum sum t.d. oljuprísinum – skapar sjálvandi ein sera viðkvæman óstøðugan búskap.

Nógvir føroyingar, sum hava sítt livibreyð í veiðu- og framleiðsluídnað, tykjast hava ilt við – ella mótvilja ímóti at seta seg inn í alt tað óítøkiliga, sum í dag hevur fingið so stóran týdning fyri virðissetan av vørum á alheimsmarknaðinum. Tað lættasta er at lata sum um, at tað óítøkiliga ikki spælir ein serliga týðandi leiklut. Ístaðin fyri at laga seg til nýggju vilkorini á alheimsmarknaðinum, verður roynt at verja um ein gamlan hugburð, har verðin var meira einføld og virðir ítøkilig. Hesin hugburður royndist væl einaferð, men ikki longur. Nógvar ressursur verða tí spiltar uppá at fáa tað almenna til at halda kunstigt lív í einari reint rávøruframleiðandi vinnu, sum í veruleikanum er deyðadømd, um hon ikki saðlar um.

Vit dragna afturúr á alheimsmarknaðinum
Veruleikin er tann, at tilfeingið er avmarkað, flutningsútreiðslur verða helst ikki bíligari, vøruútboðið og kappingin er størri enn nakrantíð, krøvini frá marknaðinum til burðardygd økjast í hvørjum – og ikki minst, at óítøkilig virði – so sum førleikarnir til at samskifta – í størri og størri mun avgera, hvat ið kann umsetast til pengar. Um vit ikki raðfesta virðisskapandi vørumenning, burðardygd og marknaðarføring hægri, enn vit gera, fáa vit tað nógv torførari við at skilja okkum frá øðrum, sum framleiða nakað tað sama sum vit – og nógv torførari við at fáa ein góðan prís fyri vørur okkara. Hetta gongur út yvir samfelagsbúskapin – í hvussu stóran mun, kunnu vit bara gita um!

Hví gera vit so ikki meira við nýskapan – við at menna vørur og við samskifti og marknaðarføring, um tað kundi verið loysnin? Tað eru uppgávur, sum t.d. ein akademisk arbeiðsmegi kann loysa, men tað tykist, sum um at vit enn hava eina íbygda arga mótstøðu ímóti at ‘akademisera’ okkara vinnulív.

Meira um hetta í næstu greinini, sum kemur í morgin....

Elin Heinesen, stjóri í SamViti, sept. 2008

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

What's the hype around the Faroe Islands about?

Interview with Elin Heinesen, Managing Director of SamVit – Faroe Islands Enterprise (Faroe Islands Trade & Tourism Council) 4. March 2008

The Faroe Islands have suddenly received a lot of media attention – why has this happened?

- These are really exciting times in the Faroe Islands. Never before in all of history, have the Faroe Islands been more visible in such a short space of time as in recent months. I can mention a few examples: In October 2007 Bill Clinton came to visit for a lecture and the world press turned its eyes towards us. Clinton talked very enthusiastically about the Faroe Islands – especially in terms of environmental issues – and he declared that he was now an unofficial ambassador for the Faroe Islands.

- Immediately after his visit, National Geographic Traveler named the Faroe Islands as the most appealing island destination out of a shortlist of 111 island communities. This result was reached by a panel of 522 experts in geotourism. (see This has resonated in the world press and provided us with priceless publicity.

- The G! Festival – a music festival which takes place in the middle of an idyllic Faroese village surrounded by spectacular nature – was claimed to be the second-best music festival in Europe by several European music magazines (only the Roskilde Festival in Denmark ranked higher). (see The Icelandic artist Bjørk has written a song called “Declare independence” about the Faroe Islands and Greenland. During live performances the Faroese and Greenlandic flags were raised onstage. An happening, which for a while created quite a lot of media attention. (See the music video here: )

- But the Faroese are also trying to take over the world themselves. The Faroese band ‘Boys in a Band’ won the Global Battle of the Bands competition in London in 2008, earning them the prize of $ 100,000 and a world tour. They blow the house down with their infectious enthusiasm and energy and receive praise from reviewers wherever they perform. (see and The Faroese singer-songwriter Teitur won the title of male vocalist of the year in Denmark at last year’s Danish Music Awards ( and the Faroese singer Lizzie (Ramt i Natten) and the Faroese band The Dreams ( have climbed to the top of Danish charts in 2008 while Eivør (, another Faroese singer, continues to receive a number of Danish and Icelandic nominations and awards. Faroese singer Jógvan also won the Icelandic version of the talent show X-Factor. ( And Brandur, also a Faroese singer songwriter, participated in Melodifestivalen – the Swedish nominations for the Eurovision Song Contest. (

- And the world wants to come to us too. Guðrun & Guðrun managed to get the international fashion press to fly to the Faroe Islands in January to participate in a fantastic fashion show in an airplane hangar at the airport which received rave reviews. (You can watch the show here: In April, Nobel laureate, former presidential candidate, and one of the world’s leading environmental activists, Al Gore, visited the Faroe Islands as the keynote speaker at the TransAtlantic Climate Conference – an event that also drew the eyes of the world to the Faroe Islands. (See The world-famous Canadian rocker Bryan Adams performed at a big out-door concert in Tórshavn in June (See And later Sporty Spice from the Spice Girls; Melanie, came and had a concert at the Summarfestivalurin in the beginning of August. Et cetera, et cetera.

- The international press has started to notice the Faroe Islands. It is not unusual to hear journalists make statements like the one Eric Campbell from Australian TV-show ‘Foreign Correspondent’ made, “The Faroe Islands could very well be the world’s next country!” (See the show here: On of the world’s leading experts in nation branding, Simon Anholt, similarly said, “The Faroe Islands is the Shangri La of the 21’st century!” In a New York Times article in 2007 with the headline, “Into the Mystical Unreal Reality of the Faroe Islands”, the Faroe Islands were described as “the most curious place left on earth” and the journalist Stephen Metcalf described his impression such: “The Faroes are easily the most moodily beautiful place I have ever been”. (Read the article here:

Where is all this hype surrounding the Faroe Islands coming from?

- There is reason to believe that there perhaps is a growing demand for what we have to offer. We can see that from the increase in attention we’re getting from e.g. journalists and researchers. However, we have also ourselves been trying to generate exposure. We have the talent, we have the technology and we are putting our story forward in the right places. We still haven’t seen the big boom, because it is comparatively expensive or difficult to get to the Faroe Islands for most people in the world. The economic crisis in the world right now is also affecting us, of course. But we have seen during many years now that the number of visitors is growing every year. And there is an increasing number of people who offer to be enthusiastic ambassadors for the Faroe Islands. People seem to be looking for someone/somewhere like us because we are a little bit different to the rest of the world..

- We may be perceived as a little bit strange, because many people consider us to be remote – but we are actually in a great strategic position in the shipping lane between the two wealthiest continents in the world and are only a couple of hours’ flight from the big cities in Northern Europe. There is still something to be said about our remoteness, because our relative isolation from the outside world for centuries has meant that we have been able to preserve ancient traditions. You could say that the ‘backwardness’ of the Faroe Islands mixed with the sudden modernisation and globalisation of society has pleased the Faroe Islands in a unique position compared to other countries – we are both extremely old-fashioned and extremely modern at the same time. We are in the middle of the modern world with our feet firmly planted in tradition – and we are using this to our advantage.

- This contrast gives us a very strong identity that some envy us; the people who visit to experience this, can see and feel this in everything we do. It fascinates people because it is rare in the world of today. Most other countries in the modern western world have been quick to break with tradition and may have thrown the baby out with the bathwater in the name of modernisation, but we are proud of our heritage. There are probably not that many places in the world where young people think it is ‘cool’ to wear their national dress on national holidays, but in the Faroe Islands they do while living a life that is just as globalised as the rest of the modern world, messaging on their mobile phones, Skype and gaming on the Internet and iPods..

But will you not lose your special national identity, like so many other peoples, when globalisation really starts affecting your life?

- We are aware of the danger. There are many Faroese people who do not value the Faroese traditions and wish to distance themselves from the ‘old’ and would like all of society to become fully globalised and hyper-modern as soon as possible. But there are also many who would like to hang on to the things that make us special or unique, since they consider those things the main reason why we have survived on these islands for so long. I think it is possible to combine things – to be modern and traditional at the same time. We are in the middle of forming a new identity. I see it as an advantage that we are lagging a bit behind other countries in some areas because that means that we can learn from others and perhaps avoid making mistakes that others have made. There will always be risk associated with all development, but we cannot isolate ourselves only to preserve a strong identity. No Faroese people wish to be exhibits in an anthropological museum. Globalisation will affect us, whether we want it to or not, and the Faroese would also like to share the advantages that globalisation brings.

- But globalisation – in the sense of global warming and limited natural resources in general – do of course mean that we are also facing a lot of very demanding challenges. Our traditional sources of income are becoming too unreliable. The main industry – the fishing industry – is in a deep crisis at the moment with fast increasing expenses and growing demands from the consumers and low prizes on the world market, as well as a lack of work force. As the educational level in the society rises fewer people want to work in fish factories. And if we’re not up for the sustainability challenge markets could close they’re doors on us in an instance – some have already done that, like the Russians. It could be the beginning of a tendency to blacklist our fish products in other countries as well. We really need to find other more sustainable ways of harvesting our resources that can produce a substantial sustainable income, fast. And I am thinking of both natural and creative resources. What we must do, is to change… or die…! There is no other way.

- What is happening now, is that we are trying to move into a new age in an intelligent way that will provide economic growth in the Faroe Islands while at the same time keeping some of the old values and traditions – even using them as a prime resource! We would like to make society more open and accessible, but in a way that will enable us to preserve the values that we have. Tourism has interesting aspects in that respect. But we need to go about it wisely. We feel that this is possible by e.g. creating long-term strategies for tourism that will emphasise creating services and offers for the visitors that are based on what is here already rather than killing our traditions and change society to achieve some international modern norm – in a mistaken assumption of what we ‘think’ the modern tourist or other guests would expect and demand. We must not go too far in modernising that we ruin the very things that make us different and therefore interesting/attractive in the eyes of others. I do think that we can strike a balance.

- We can choose to appeal to geo-tourists and eco-tourists who prefer to visit places that make an effort to preserve the environment and original values. Eco-tourists are very interested in local culture and history and consciously decide to buy from the locals and live in locally-owned hotels and guesthouses. Their contribution to the local economy is therefore several times the amount that a typical mass-tourist would spend. We are privileged to have the opportunity to welcome tourists with modern conveniences with three and four star hotels, gourmet restaurants and café-life in Tórshavn, but we can also offer them to go to the small villages and islands in the immediate vicinity of Tórshavn where they can participate in traditional Faroese farming life, which to them would be a different and interesting experience – to herd the sheep, building boats or rappelling from ropes on the cliff face. In this way the tourist can even be involved in reviving traditions that are threatened and inject life in the outlying islands where the population is dwindling – dwindling because the traditional village life and work is no longer profitable. It may now become profitable again through tourism.

What do you consider the strengths of the Faroese people?

- The Faroe Islands is a bubbling cauldron of creativity. The concentration of artists and creative people is remarkable considering the number of inhabitants. I think it has something to do with the cocktail of a wild, raw, achingly beautiful nature and strong traditions mixed with globalisation which all creates a synergy that boosts creativity – especially among young people who are more global in their way of thinking than the older generations and therefore have a better understanding of how people think outside the Faroe Islands. They can use this to their advantage. The Faroe Islands is a combination of many powerful ingredients that are hitting a nerve right now. The zeitgeist works in our favour.

- I also feel that the Faroe Islands has the potential to attract lots of creative people who can let themselves be inspired by the contrasts and the special energy that exists in the Faroe Islands. For a number of years, we have seen how artist are drawn to the Faroe Islands. Nowadays, when modern daily life makes such demands of people’s creativity, a broader group of people than just artists can benefit from an ‘inspirational’ visit to the islands. This is one of the areas where we can market ourselves. We just need the imagination to compile the right packages of experiences that we can sell to the right nice-markets. And we need the imagination to tell all the good stories about our products in general too.

- The pool of talent and the production facilities are here and they can produce quality that carry the possibility of creating awareness out there. So the attention will come, as long as the products reach the right respondents in the right way. Firstly, the consumer needs to have the opportunity to be introduced to what is on offer. Then we need to make it as easy as possible for them to find out more about the products that they are interested in – the stories and people behind the product. In this respect, we at SamVit – Faroe Islands Enterprise can pull the load, or rather just push it and it will roll, because the story of the Faroe Islands almost sells itself at the moment. We only need to get others to tell the story for us. We have a multitude of ‘ambassadors’ who would be more than happy to tell our story – and this is more credible than if we tell it ourselves. The quotes and statements need to be collected and made more visible; we can do that e.g. through our websites and in our general correspondence with the world in general.

But the Faroe Islands is still only a small country with very limited resources. Can you really become a player on the massive global marketplace?

- Yes, I think so. With the technology, internet communication and transport opportunities that exist today, the Faroe Islands can enter the global market on completely different terms than were possible a few years ago. It has become easier to exchange products across boundaries and continents – material and immaterial products. However, the confusion in the market is also great, because the supply is so great. It is confusing to have too many products to choose between. If we look at supply, in general, it is so great that it is impossible to get to grips with. So there is a trend to dive into smaller markets.

- We therefore see a trend from macro to micro – i.e. the consumers buy more and more locally produced products – e.g. beer from micro-breweries which when considered as a group amount to serious competition for the major international breweries. The consumers are diving into the big market to find smaller markets, because that makes things much more manageable and easy to identify with. People want their lives to be simpler. This can work to our advantage.

- Globalisation has generally favoured mass-manufacture and big industry. It has polarised trends because everyone is affected by everyone. But exactly because of this, there is a reverse trend. Most big cities today are marked by a mishmash of many different cultures. At first glance, the supply seems varied, but may not be when looking at the bigger picture. The supply and offers that exist in the big cities are more or less the same in all big cities, so the big cities everywhere are becoming more and more alike. There are restaurants with the same types of food, amusement parks with the same attractions, zoos with the same types of animals, people listen to the same music and see the same films in the cinema. This is why many city-dwellers are looking for something different and new – something special and exotic – something, that you cannot get in the big city. This is where we think the Faroe Islands can deliver.

What is it exactly that the Faroe Islands has to offer, that you think people from other countries need?

- For the first time in the history of the world, this year more people live in big cities than in more rural areas. In the global big city society people’s distinctive character is becoming less and less pronounced – everything becomes more similar and therefore indifferent. The variety is roughly the same in most big cities. The search for what is unique has therefore never been greater, because fundamentally, people like to stand out – this is the basic drive behind new fashion trends. Here in the Faroe Islands, you may find something that is very distinctive and different, at the same time that it is safe and familiar to some extent, because the Faroese are in many ways the same as most other Western European people – the way they used to be before many of the modern global trends set in. This makes us particularly attractive to many visitors.

- It is also a strength of the Faroe Islands that we have proud and well-rooted handicrafts. We can make quality products and have a special authenticity in our designs that connect the old and coarse with the new and urbane in a particular way that nowadays is generally considered quite cool. Maybe this perception is because we live in an unsafe world that makes us nostalgic. We look back to what we think used to be safe and to a less spoiled and less polluted world. And this is the way the Faroe Islands is, while still boasting modern comforts.

- There is also a great need out there to find demarcated and manageable ‘islands’ that you can cultivate and keep to yourself. Relatively large groups of enthusiastic philatelists throughout the globe have made it their specialty to collect Faroese stamps – exactly because they come from a small country and are therefore in limited supply because of the small print runs. In the same way, we feel that ‘identity-starved’ people from all over the world, looking for something special to take an interest in, can be made aware of the special selection of other products that exists in the Faroe Islands. They just need access and information – and that is what we want to provide.

It is not easy to break through or stand out in the massive flow of information of the modern world – how are you planning to market the Faroe Islands?

- We at SamVit – Faroe Islands Enterprise (an amalgamation Tourist Board and Trade Council) have no plans for big expensive marketing campaigns – we cannot afford those. We are under no illusions that our marketing can magically create an enormous demand for Faroese products or that we can create Faroese stars that can sell millions of CDs around the world.

- But we can still do something to make a big difference in the end. Instead of spreading our efforts too thin, we can focus our marketing efforts to pinpoints – and therefore make us and Faroese products more visible and easier accessible to the right people. We do this through e.g. the Internet, because it is an effective and relatively cheap medium that makes it possible to communicate globally in seconds. On the Internet everyone is equal, because everyone is just a couple of clicks away. This, however, is not sufficient to achieve our goals – we need more..

- SamVit – Faroe Islands Enterprise is currently betting on the principles of pyro-marketing – i.e. hitting the right niche markets and networking with the right contacts in key positions and the right media which may already have a certain interest in the Faroe Islands or what the Faroe Islands represent. The most important issue is to have something to offer, and we certainly feel that we have that. We therefore work hard to establish contacts, going out to tell our story or to bring key people to the Faroe Islands – so they, in turn, can tell the story of this strange little country in the North Atlantic. This is e.g. what Guðrun & Guðrun did with their great fashion show in January when they brought the international fashion press to a hangar in Vágar airport.

So what do you do at SamVit – Faroe Islands Enterprise?

- At SamVit – Faroe Islands Enterprise, we have expertise in analysing target groups, marketing, communication and storytelling. We have a big network of contacts abroad and experiencing in establishing relevant contacts. Through the many ‘ambassadors’ that we have out there we can participate in tracking down the right recipients/clients and offer them what they are looking for or need – to tell our story, get them involved and make them interested in what the Faroe Islands have to offer.

- We consider Faroese products – anything from fish products to culture and tourism – to be of a high quality and represent a niche in the global market that can appeal to parts of the international audience if only they become familiar with them and are introduced in the right way. By thinking small and targeting selected, segmented and manageable markets in a way that combines authenticity and understanding of the market we can create the spark that is necessary for the fire to catch and spread. It is a matter of focused marketing.

- We have great faith in the power of the ‘event’ and good networking. We believe that the long, slower pushes produce better results in the long run. We believe that culture is a good icebreaker to open doors. So we try to participate in creating special events to create attention and expand our network - for instance events that promote Faroese music, art and design. They usually receive a lot of media attention and are helping us to create very valuable networks that we can utilise.

What do you hope to achieve with your strategy?

- It is about making the Faroe Islands more visible and recognisable to enable us to sell more of our products in the global marketplace. It is about making people associate something good and identifiable with Faroese products to make those products more sought-after.

- I think we can take this strategy far – it is mainly based on storytelling. It is relatively easy to tell people about the Faroe Islands, because the story is so manageable with effective dramatic elements. It is already clear, that it works to tell our story to the right ‘ambassadors’. Bill Clinton said, when he was here, that he would like to help tell our story to the world because he felt that we had many advantages by being so small and that we had understood some things that the rest of the world could learn from. He said that if we played our cards right, we could be come a pioneer country. I think it is very important to listen carefully, when other people say such things and seize those opportunities because, in the end, our success hinges on being able to use the momentum that is generated.

- Small-scale thinking can also work. Leonhard Cohen had a song: ‘First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin…’ We do not have to think big right away. We can ‘invade’ smaller cities or societies one by one, establish cooperation and begin by exchanging culture, events and experiences. The sister-city model or the Island Games model are successful examples of such small-scale thinking. In addition to exchanging friends and sports we can exchange art and culture as well as other products. These are small steps, but they all add up in the end.

- It is about sowing seeds where the soil is fertile. From there the message can spread like rings in water... A small sparkle can lit a big fire. And here, SamVit – Faroe Islands Enterprise can be the driving force that sets things in motion. We consciously work on these lines. Storytelling creates our minds. Storytelling – published the right places – creates the world.

Fact box:
Elin Heinesen is the Managing Director of SamVit – Faroe Islands Enterprise, the Faroese Trade Council and Tourist Board. She was born in 1958 and has a daughter, born in 1990. Before moving back to the Faroe Islands in 2007, she lived in Denmark for 24 years, most of the time in Copenhagen. The last 5 years before her move to the Faroe Islands she had been the Managing Editor of KIWI magazine, a women’s and consumer’s magazine, which she also helped launch. Elin was also the Marketing Coordinator of Copenhagen City of Culture 1996. She has wide-ranging experience in the fields of internet, marketing, media and culture and has worked in communication and marketing for many years as head of marketing, journalist and editor in on-line and printed media. She holds a university degree (Cand.mag.) in aesthetics and culture and also has an education in business economics from Copenhagen Business School as well as being an educated screenwriter from Den Danske Filmskole (the Danish Film School). Elin is sometimes referred to as ‘the singing manager’, since she also has a background as a singer and songwriter.


Australian program about the Faroe Islands:

A beautiful program about the Faroe Isladns from PBS with focus on the killing of pilot whales.

A very well written article in New York Times about the Faroe Islands – incl. a video about sheep slaughter:

Guðrun og Guðrun's home page – designers:

Exciting film project on the Faroe Islands – not yet finished – with fascinating music and photos:

SamVit - Faroe Islands Enterprise: