Article in Avisa Hordaland 26 October 2016:
Veko has become a million-dollar store. In 2015, Ekstremsportveko, Voss Vind and Voss Active achieved a combined turnover of almost NOK 44 million.
The companies were started by people from the same community, who have turned the game into a socially beneficial livelihood. They co-operate and play on each other’s unique qualities. Voss Active sells flight trips, and Voss Vind sells rafting trips. See one such package offer here: Wind & Water. Let’s see how much revenue Voss Active alone generates for the village:
Those who come to Voss for rafting also need accommodation, catering and transport. They often seek out more experiences during their visit to Voss. This generates NOK 46.5 million in social turnover.
Source: Institute of Transport Economics
At the start of the season, rafting in the Stranda river. But during the summer, when the snow in the mountains decreases, the Stranda river has too little water for rafting. The rafting trips are then moved to the Raundalselva. Some seasons this happens early, other seasons later, we don’t know in advance. But for Voss Active to have a predictable enough outlook to hire guides, sell products through tour operators and invest in equipment, they MUST know that they can offer rafting all season. They can’t do that without the Raundalselva river.
Voss Active is also dependent on skilled river guides who want to use their expertise at Voss. Becoming a qualified river guide for the kind of rivers we have at Voss requires certain skills. Guiding unwitting tourists safely down a dangerous river involves several years of experience, courses, training and, not least, special personal qualities. Guides must be confident and respectful. They must be entertaining and reassuring. They must learn all the nooks and crannies of the river, at all possible water levels. They must be constantly prepared to deal with unforeseen events in limited time. Yes, the river is beautiful, but it is also dangerous without a qualified guide.
The most important attraction Voss has for such resource people is natural areas such as Raundalen. Build a small intake dam at Reime. Remove parts of the river. And wave goodbye to such expertise.
Does Voss want river activities in its portfolio of powerful experiences?
Then Voss needs competent people who can carry out the activities. And these people need good reasons to stay in a village with unstable western Norway weather for an entire summer season.
Sorry. But without an unspoilt Raundalselv river, Voss doesn’t have enough attraction for these golden birds. We can choose to keep them together with everything in society that builds on their expertise, or we can opt for power development.