Travelers visiting the island of Ulko-Tammio in Finland will be asked to keep their phones in their pockets this summer. The aim is to encourage holidaymakers to switch off their smart devices, take a break from social media and enjoy nature. Located in the Eastern Gulf of Finland National Park, Ulko-Tammio is believed to be the world’s first phone-free tourist island.
The Eastern Gulf of Finland boasts plenty of beautiful islands awaiting explorers. Rugged islands, lush swimming spots and charming coastal villages are all characterized by nature, peace and the Baltic Sea.
We want to urge holidaymakers to switch off their smart devices and to stop and genuinely enjoy the islands.Mats Selin, expert in island tourism at Visit Kotka-Hamina.
The campaign is hoped to encourage people to take a break from social media and smart devices outside the island, too. The staff of Parks & Wildlife Finland, the company which manages the island, are also excited about the campaign. “We encourage visitors to put their phones away voluntarily and to focus their senses on nature rather than on their phones,” said Joel Heino, Manager, Outdoor Recreation and Visitor Management at Parks & Wildlife Finland. “This is a great initiative that could be implemented in other nature and recreational destinations, too.”
1. Summer is the high season of digital fasting
Technology is part of our everyday lives, and many people find it difficult to put their phone down even on holiday. Sharing your holiday activities on social media might feel more important than simply enjoying the moment. So many people are always within reach and spend any idle moments they have scrolling through their social media feed.
“People are not meant to be glued to screens all the time,” said Terhi Mustonen, psychologist and Program Manager of the Limitless Gaming and Limitless Social Media programs at the Sosped Foundation Even a short digital fast can be useful and improve our well-being and help relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression.”
Summer holidays are a fantastic opportunity to take a break from technology and to enjoy genuine experiences, and Ulko-Tammio is an ideal phone-free island. Located far from the mainland, the island boasts interesting history, nature, birds – along with a bird-watching tower – and a cabin maintained by Parks & Wildlife Finland.
“Switching off your phone, exploring nature and meeting people face to face are bound to boost your mood and well-being,” said Sari Castrén, psychologist and Research Manager at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare. “We spend countless hours scrolling our social media feeds, so taking a short break from them means you have more time for new experiences. I’d like to see more initiatives like this that promote digital fasting.”
2. Growing interest in the Eastern Gulf of Finland
The Eastern Gulf of Finland boasts a 30-nautical-mile-wide national park, where the island of Ulko-Tammio is located. “The eastern side of the Gulf of Finland is home to a unique group of islands you won’t find elsewhere,” said Selin. “According to our research, interest in the islands of the Eastern Gulf of Finland is also on the rise among Finnish tourists looking for a local destination.”
The island is home to rare birds and plants. The island also boasts an impressive history, beautiful and lush nature and rugged shores. Ulko-Tammio has well-marked hiking trails and a bird watching tower that offers wonderful views over the national park. Visitors can stay overnight on the island in tents or in the cabin maintained by Parks & Wildlife Finland.