Finland Introduces World’s First Phone-free Tourist Island

Those traveling to the island of Ulko-Tammio, located off the coast of Hamina, will be asked to keep their phones in their pockets this summer. The aim is to encourage travelers to switch off their smart devices, take a break from social media and enjoy nature. Ulko-Tammio is believed to be the world’s first phone-free tourist island.

Joel Heino, manager, outdoor recreation and visitor management at Parks & Wildlife Finland, said" “We encourage visitors to put their phones away voluntarily and to focus their senses on nature rather than on their phones. This is a great initiative that could be implemented in other nature and recreational destinations, too."

Technology is part of our everyday lives, and many people find it difficult to put their phone down, even on vacation: Sharing your activities on social media might feel more important than simply enjoying the moment. Added Terhi Mustonen, psychologist and program manager of the “Limitless Gaming” and “Limitless Social Media” programs at the Sosped Foundation: “People are not meant to be glued to screens all the time. Even a short digital fast can be useful and improve our well-being and help relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression.”

Phone-Free Island
(© Annika Ruohonen)

Participation in digital fasting is voluntary, and the island is covered by a functioning mobile network. The island of Ulko-Tammio is located in the Eastern Gulf of Finland National Park, which is one of the 41 national parks in Finland. The island is home to rare birds and plants; it also offers well-marked hiking trails and a birdwatching tower that offers views over the national park. Visitors can stay overnight on the island in tents or in the cabin maintained by Parks & Wildlife Finland.

Islands in the Eastern Gulf of Finland are accessed using private boats or by catching a commuter ferry, a cruiseferry, a water taxi or a water bus from Kotka. The east coast has several other islands worth visiting and exploring.

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