It does not matter how good a company we are, how much better our products may be than those offered by other comparative companies or how high our standards are, if there are few tourists coming to the area as a whole.
Hence, it is important for the long-term future of the area that the infrastructure needed to grow this vital market is improved upon, that clear marketing strategies are determined and that a wide range of products, transport and accommodation options are available.
To this end, we spend anything from 10 to 40 hours of our time, per month, voluntarily participating in EU and local municipality-driven projects working towards the long-term viability of the area as a whole.
Pasi, for instance, is currently the chairman of Enontekiö’s Entrepreneur’s Association and a board member of Enontekiö Development Ltd. He is also a member of the Enontekiö / True Lapland marketing group, the Revontuli Opisto group (which provides ongoing educational services to adults in the region) and the municipality healthcare board. He is a substitute member for the regional Environmental Health Board and sits on the national Survival Guild Finland board as well as being a member of Survival Guild Finland's 'masters council'.
Anna isn't part of the various committees primarily because her Finnish isn't up to it - and it is probably a good thing, or, knowing her background and personality, she would spend too much time on this kind of work. However, she still does a lot of work in the background, contributes to project meetings that the company is part of, and is on the board of Enontekiö's Voluntary Rescue Services.
Pasi has also been part of the KKTM EU leader group deciding funding for Fell Lapland and on the steering group for three projects; a group that focuses on attracting immigrants to work in Western Lapland, a project called 'Destination Enontekiö', and the EU-supported Region Arctica project - which was essentially started to increase trans-border tourism cooperation between providers in this area (ie within a few hundred kilometres of us, in both Finland, Sweden and Norway. (Traditionally, companies in this region have worked more or less in isolation. However, as access to hire cars in the area is facilitated and as regional airports offer more flight options, tourists are more open to the option of travelling to see more than one country at once so knowledge of the wider potential for tourists within the area as a whole is to the benefit of all.) He was also both a board member and MD of Hetta's small Ski Resort and was also on the board of the Fell Lapland Travel Association.
As a company we have supported numerous regional EU projects including a recent Village to Village project based around the responsible development of the area's national park (which was linked to it gaining Europarc status and us becoming part of a small pool of local National Park Guides who took part in a training program and accreditation program to be able to guide in the park and to communicate about nature and sustainability therein).
We have also been part of a safety network project whose aim has been to improve safety standards in northern-area tourism by sharing best practices and tools for both the service providers and their staff. The company has also participated in the Ounasjoki water-tourism based project and the initial stages of a mountain biking network development project.
Our company was also part of the first sleddog-specific EU project targeted at driving higher safety and quality standards within husky companies in Lapland. Developing communication platforms between the providers was a key goal since the participants understood the need to come together and to both share best practice and to decide a common ground in terms for the industry. Sleddogs are one of the leading attractions to tourists and yet they had no common voice in terms of accepted standards and the right to operate / the ongoing development of a stable, approved network for sleddog activities in the region.
One outcome from this project was the establishment of the Northern Sleddog Entrepreneur's Association.