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Lillehammer in Central Norway is an ideal holiday destination for outdoor adventures. The town has some of the country’s most spectacular scenery right on its doorstep, and Rondane, Jotunheimen and Langsua national parks are all within easy reach. It is one of Norway’s certified sustainable tourist destinations.
For holiday destinations across the world, the environmental and social impact of tourism is huge. While the influx of tourists presents multiple opportunities for local value creation and employment, it also has negative impacts. These include increased pollution, damage to the landscape and disturbance to local communities.
“Sustainable Destination” certification is awarded to destinations in Norway that are working systematically to reduce the negative impact of tourism. In order to be certified, a destination must preserve local nature and culture, strengthen social values, demonstrate political commitment, have effective management, and be economically viable. Each of these five criteria has sub‐criteria and indicators that make it clear which actions to take. Read more about sustainable tourism in Norway.
To provide visitors with a high-quality and memorable experience, Visit Lillehammer has introduced a programme certifying hosts as “Adventure Hosts”. Everyone working in the tourism industry is offered training courses to learn about local culture, history and traditions and how to protect the environment. Hosts are thus knowledgeable and confident and can proudly share information on local culture as well as recommend suitable adventures for visitors.
Eco-labelling is an effective way of communicating the environmental impact of products and businesses. Visit Lillehammer has started networks to encourage hotels, restaurants, attractions and events to start an eco-labelling process.
Eateries in sustainable destinations must have a certain percentage of locally produced food and beverages on their menus. Visit Lillehammer showcase local food and beverage producers and encourages eateries to use and sell more locally produced delicacies.
Visit Lillehammer has launched a project to improve the accessibility of public transport for tourists. The aim is to streamline regional transport, reduce emissions and make it easier for visitors to travel within the region to enjoy activities such as hiking, biking and horseback riding in summer, and skiing and dogsledding in winter.
Tourists are increasingly choosing tour operators that focus on sustainability. Tour operators can recommend any Norwegian destination certified as sustainable, secure in the knowledge that the destination is working continually to advance sustainability – economically, socially and environmentally – while providing an excellent experience.
The region attracts visitors all year round, and this supports the local economy by generating stable employment opportunities and increased profitability for local businesses. There is, however, potential for further development in terms of spring and autumn to ensure that visitor numbers are more evenly distributed throughout the year.
Photos, from top: Ian Brodie, Esben Haakenstad, Ian Brodie. In gallery: Jørgen Skaug, Esben Haakenstad, Åsmund Hanslien, Ian Brodie, Esben Haakenstad, Ian Brodie, Ian Brodie, Ian Brodie.
The Lillehammer region extends from the town of Lillehammer in the south to the Gudbrandsdalen valley in the north, covering eight municipalities with some 58 000 inhabitants
There are about 25 000 privately owned cabins and 12 000 hotel beds in the region
Lillehammer was the host city for the Olympic Winter Games in 1994 and the Youth Olympic Winter Games in 2016