Norway region changes perspective over helicopter tourism

Norway region changes perspective over helicopter tourism
Hardanger. File photo: Tore Meek / NTB scanpix
Politicians in the Eidfjord municipality have responded to public concerns over helicopter tourism in the Hardanger region.

Cabin owners and travel companies in the region reacted strongly to reports last month that the Statkraft hydropower company had applied for permission for helicopter tourism to use its landing pad in Eidfjord, broadcaster NRK reports.

Hardanger is a district in the western part of Norway dominated by a number of spectacular fjords, including Hardangerfjord and its inner branches of the Sørfjorden and Eidfjorden.

According to Statkraft, a request from the municipality was behind the compnay's application for a license that would have seen as many as 1,100 flyovers in the Hardangervidda National Park area annually.

But politicians responded to concerns from local residents over the flyovers, according to NRK's report.

“This type of tourism is not particularly desired [by residents], but we want to have [tourist] activity, so we want this as an option,” Eidfjord Municipality spokesperson Anved Johan Tveit told NRK in February.

But Tveit told the broadcaster on Tuesday that that position had now changed.

“We will not offer tourist flights,” he said following a municipal committee meeting Monday night, according to NRK's report.

The municipality reportedly experienced significant opposition to granting the helicopter tourism licenses, including concern over helicopter traffic at the Vøringsfossen waterfall, Sysendammen lake and Hardangerjøkulen glacier.

“I have never before seen a case in which so many have become engaged in such a short space of time. We appreciate so many getting involved,” Tveit said.

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