Senja by Heart in Torsken on Senja Island enters into extensive collaboration with the tourism giant Hurtigruten. During 2023, 6,000 guests from Hurtigruten Norway and Expeditions will visit Torsken to experience the coastal culture on Senja. The collaboration has great significance for Senja by Heart but also has the potential to provide opportunities for other tourism operators in the region.
Senja by Heart is a locally owned startup in the tourism industry that has quickly established itself as a local player in sustainable tourism. So far, the owners have invested approximately 40 million Norwegian Kroner in creating a contemporary tourism offering with facilities such as cabins, apartments, a pub, and a restaurant, in addition to developing a wide range of activities that encompass nature, traditional coastal culture, and modern business.
In the fall of 2022, Hurtigruten Expeditions made its first visit to Torsken on Senja. Over 150 guests from countries including Argentina, England, and the USA were transported by RIB from MS Maud to the pier. They had the opportunity to participate in various exciting activities such as tasting traditional food from Senja, attending an Advent celebration, and visiting salmon production facilities. The initiative was highly popular and marked the beginning of a larger strategic collaboration for sustainable tourism on Senja. Now, an ambitious program for 2023 is being launched.
“It’s incredibly exciting to see that the tourism products we have managed to create are generating interest and providing us with an opportunity to showcase Torsken and Senja as a destination for sustainable tourism. The experience from last year showed that we could offer unique experiences to Hurtigruten’s guests, and now we see them returning with almost 20 ship arrivals,” says Fredd Wilsgård, CEO of Senja by Heart.
During 2023, Hurtigruten Expeditions with the ships MS Otto Sverdrup and MS Maud will dock in the Torsken fjord a total of eleven times. In addition, MS Trollfjord will have a total of eight visits to the pier. Guests will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of exciting activities during their visits, such as the Senja Tasting food experience, cultural walks in Torsken, e-bike tours, RIB tours, mountain hikes, and visits to seafood production facilities. During their visit, guests will learn about the sustainable production of seafood from Senja.
“What we learned last year was that guests wanted a diverse and authentic offering of sustainable activities and experiences. We already have well-defined products such as tech tours to modern seafood production facilities, e-bike tours, RIB tours, food experiences, and cultural walks. These activities appeal to an ‘explorer tourist’ and they enjoy sharing their experiences, which will hopefully lead to repeat visits and increased sales,” says Jørgen Wang, Sales and Marketing Manager at Senja by Heart.
With 19 arrivals, it is expected that approximately 6,000 guests will visit Torsken throughout the year. These visits open up possibilities for various forms of collaboration with other tourism operators on Senja, ranging from coordinated activities to having their own stands during the visits. Both Senja by Heart and Hurtigruten emphasize the importance of ensuring that the visits do not inconvenience the residents of Torsken. In 2022, there was an incident where a cruise ship anchored in Bergsfjorden, deployed its own boats, and used the area exclusively. This sparked strong reactions, and both Senja by Heart and Hurtigruten are committed to avoiding such a situation. Therefore, they are developing offers primarily connected to Senja by Heart and Wilsgård’s existing activities. When activities are brought to public spaces, it is crucial to ensure that the benefits for the community are noticeable, creating opportunities for positive activities that both residents and visitors can benefit from.
Hurtigruten is a large and professional collaboration partner. The process of developing this collaboration has been informative. “There is room here to create even more offerings based on different requirements regarding guests’ physical condition, time availability, and areas of interest. Therefore, I encourage good neighbors and creative people from Senja to get in touch so that we can develop an even stronger offering. We need more partners to further enhance this opportunity and showcase Senja and our history to guests from all over the world,” concludes Fredd Wilsgård.
Facts about Senja by Heart: Senja by Heart is a family-owned business that offers experiences, local food, and accommodation in the idyllic fishing village of Torsken on Senja Island. The Wilsgård family has been involved in “working the sea” through fishing and eventually aquaculture for several generations. Over the years, their activities have grown to become the largest workplace in both the local area and the region in terms of seafood. The desire to invest in tourism emerged, and with a passion for the village, the Wilsgård brothers aim to create an active and attractive fishing village.
Contact information: Fredd Wilsgård, CEO, Senja by Heart, email: firstname.lastname@example.org / mobile: +47 905 73 554 Jørgen Wang, Sales and Marketing Manager, Senja by Heart, email: email@example.com / mobile: +47 958 06 066