Tourism experts: The future is arctic north

FinnTribune report: Tourism experts in the recently held Arctic Business Forum emphasized innovative ideas to ensure more coverage, connectivity and combining the services in the Arctic tourism sector.
The discussion session on Arctic tourism in the 2-day ABF on April 6-7 also felt the need for a new strategy to synchronise the tourism services with other Nordic partners to increase the availability of tourist destinations, thus promoting the Arctic north as a product.
The Lapland Chamber of Commerce estimates the potential investment in Lapland’s tourism sector in the next five years at 2,310 million euros.
In the discussion session of the forum, Visit Finland Executive Vice President Paavo Virkkunen said a new tourism strategy should be directed at increasing the coverage, connectivity and combinability which can ensure a sustainable tourism in the Arctic north. Visit Finland is now restructuring its tourism operations and marketing, focusing on new product development, internationalisation, and digitalisation, he added.
Virkkunen said internationalisation is closely connected with some cultural factors such as food and similar services.
He said while Santa Claus is a door-opener for tourism in the Arctic region, Lapland also attracts foreign visitors for its quality services, which are also genuine and simple.
He said Lapland tourism is bringing in business to the Arctic. The new Chinese TV serial ‘We Are in Love’ is the most recent example where Lapland is in focus. This TV serial will be telecast in China on April 24.
Visit Arctic Europe Project Director Rauno Posio said they have launched a new Arctic tourism campaign is focused on the UK, Benelux, Germany, the US, and China. The project aims to establish broader cooperation among the tourism actors in the Arctic region.
Posio said the campaign will work to promote tourism products for the low season.
Tromso Safari Managing Director Ivar Huugen in the discussion said there is a huge opportunity to develop the tourism products and increase further movement in the region. Travel products need to be well designed for the low season too.
Tourism in next 5 years
Meanwhile, the Lapland Chamber of Commerce in a forecast said the amount of investments in the tourism sector would rise by another billion euros within the next 10 years, if the current trend of positive developments continues.
According to the chamber’s estimates, a total of 250 million euros would be invested in the tourism sector of the Lapland region in the next five year. At the same time, it has projected a total investment of 885 million euros in the tourism sector of the European high north during 2016-2020.
The chamber in the forecast said the most important strategic issues for tourism in Lapland include improved accessibility, growing internationally, and a demand for all-the-year-round tourism through vigorous sales and marketing efforts.
It said a serious hindrance to the development of all-the-year-round service supply is the fact that Lapland occasionally has poor accessibility, especially outside the high seasons of Christmas and midwinter months.
It emphasized stepping up sales and marketing measures, joint commitment, long-term cooperation, and ample resources from the municipalities and the tourism industry to overcome the hurdle.
The chamber recommended that special attention should be paid to the standards of construction, planning and natural surroundings. The major distinctive attractions must be protected and the surroundings kept pleasant for both visitors and local inhabitants.