Finland unveils world’s first phone-free tourist island

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Ulko-Tammio: World's First Phone-Free Tourist Island

Ulko-Tammio, an island nestled in the Eastern Gulf of Finland National Park, is inviting guests this summer to experience an unprecedented digital detox: keeping their phones tucked away. The objective is to prompt tourists to disconnect from their smart devices, refrain from social media usage, and immerse themselves in the beauty of nature. With this initiative, Ulko-Tammio claims the title of the world’s first phone-free island for tourists.

The Eastern Gulf of Finland is home to an array of stunning islands waiting to be discovered. Rich in nature, tranquility, and embraced by the Baltic Sea, these islands feature rugged landscapes, verdant swimming locales, and quaint seaside towns.

“As an island situated off Hamina’s coast, Ulko-Tammio will become a phone-free zone this summer. Our aim is to encourage holidaymakers to switch off their smart devices and fully appreciate the islands,” says Mats Selin, an island tourism expert at Visit Kotka-Hamina.

The campaign not only aims to inspire digital disconnection on the island but also beyond it. Parks & Wildlife Finland, the organization managing the island, is enthusiastic about the campaign.

Ulko-Tammio: World's First Phone-Free Tourist Island
Ulko-Tammio 2 – © Annika Ruohonen

“We urge visitors to voluntarily keep their phones away, turning their attention to nature rather than screens. We believe this initiative could be adopted in other nature-centric and recreational destinations,” comments Joel Heino, Manager, Outdoor Recreation and Visitor Management at Parks & Wildlife Finland.

While technology has become integral to our daily routines, many struggle to disconnect even during vacations. The lure of sharing holiday moments on social media often trumps simply being in the moment.

“People are not designed to be perpetually attached to screens. A brief digital detox can enhance our well-being and alleviate anxiety and depression symptoms,” notes Terhi Mustonen, psychologist and Program Manager of the Limitless Gaming and Limitless Social Media programs at the Sosped Foundation.

Summer vacations are an excellent chance to disconnect from technology and engage in authentic experiences. Ulko-Tammio, an island distanced from the mainland, offers a rich history, vibrant birdlife, and a birdwatching tower, along with a cabin maintained by Parks & Wildlife Finland.

“Putting your phone aside, exploring nature, and having face-to-face interactions will undoubtedly uplift your mood and well-being. As we spend considerable time scrolling social media feeds, taking a short break gives you more time for new experiences. I welcome more initiatives promoting digital fasting,” says Sari Castrén, psychologist and Research Manager at the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare.

The Eastern Gulf of Finland, housing a 30-nautical-mile-wide national park, is witnessing increased interest among Finnish tourists seeking nearby vacation destinations.

Visitors to the phone-free island of Ulko-Tammio are encouraged to participate in digital fasting voluntarily. Despite the island having a functioning mobile network, tourists are urged to engage their senses fully with the island’s captivating nature.

Considered a crown jewel of the Eastern Gulf of Finland, Ulko-Tammio is a part of one of Finland’s 41 national parks. The island hosts rare birds and plants and boasts an enriching history, stunning natural beauty, and rugged coastlines.

With well-marked hiking trails and a birdwatching tower offering splendid national park views, Ulko-Tammio provides overnight stay options in tents or the cabin maintained by Parks & Wildlife Finland.

Islands in the Eastern Gulf of Finland are typically accessed via private boats, or by catching a commuter ferry, a cruise ferry, a water taxi, or a water bus from Kotka. Numerous other islands along the east coast are worth exploring.

Ulko-Tammio: World's First Phone-Free Tourist Island
Ulko-Tammio 3 – © Annika Ruohonen

More information:

Johanna Tyynelä, Director of Tourism Management, Visit Kotka-Hamina 

+358 40 190 2523, [email protected]

More information about the Eastern Gulf of Finland National Park and the island of Ulko-Tammio is provided by:

Joel Heino, Manager, Outdoor Recreation and Visitor Management. at Parks & Wildlife Finland (Metsähallitus), +358 40 621 0673, [email protected]

Media images:

The project is funded as part of the European Union’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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