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Finnish Island Becomes World’s First Phone-Free Tourist Area



Source: Instagram via Annika Ruohoen
If you’re hoping to unleash a little travel envy by sharing real-time pictures of your travels on social media, there’s one island in Finland that you probably shouldn’t visit.
The Finnish island of Ulko-Tammio hopes to keep tourists off their phones by becoming the world’s first phone-free tourist area.
According to USA Today, the remote island is urging visitors to “focus on nature” instead of their phones.
“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,” said Joel Heino, manager of outdoor recreation and visitor management at Parks & Wildlife Finland, in a statement reported by USA Today.
“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,” said Terhi Mustonen, psychologist and Program Manager of the Limitless Gaming and Limitless Social Media programmes at the Sosped Foundation, in a statement, also reported by USA Today.
However, phone addicts needn’t fear their phones will be confiscated if they visit the idyllic Finnish island.
According to USA Today, the phone-free visit to Ulko-Tammio is voluntary. There is phone service on the island if you cannot fathom unplugging.
Located in the Eastern Gulf of Finland, Ulko-Tammio is part of the Eastern Gulf national park, where visitors can stay overnight in cabins or tents. Featuring abundant wildlife, tourists can enjoy hiking around the rocky shoreline or bird-watching from one of the island’s bird-watching towers.
According to EuroNews, Ulko-Tammio may be on to something by encouraging tourists to put away their phones: A 2022 study found that participants who took a one-week break from social media reported ‘significant improvements’ in well-being and sleep quality, and A 2019 University of East Anglia study revealed that a ‘digital detox’ vacation increases feelings of connectedness and presence.