20 November 2023
Guests don’t see the boundaries. This particularly applies to international guests. Many of the guests at our museums in Lofoten, Vesterålen and Ofoten have travelled far to experience nature and culture. It is not important to them whether they visit Vågan or Andøy municipality, Nordland, Troms or Finnmark County Council, Kiruna in Sweden, Levi in Finland or Narvik in Norway ? What matters is what experiences they find within the area or along the route they have chosen.
The aim of the Arctic Europe Tourism Cluster (AETC) project is to renew Arctic tourism to a more robust and regenerative tourism. The project seeks to meet future expectations for the benefit of the tourism industry, local communities and visitors in Arctic Europe.
This is precisely what the Arctic Europe Tourism Cluster is all about: Borderless cooperation to develop the High North in Norway, Sweden and Finland into sustainable, rich regions guests will visit to experience nature and culture. The tourism industry shall contribute to and benefit from sustainable regions.
To succeed, we must create new products, connect and further develop existing products, develop new itineraries by looking at both infrastructure but also the experience opportunities in the routes.
All development must be based on what we have to build on that is unique, what is or can be interesting for guests and what provides the opportunity to develop sustainable tourism. The project will also further develop the sales channels, for example to make tour operators even better acquainted with the opportunities and concrete products in our area. Sustainability and renegerative tourism are key words.
More than 100 participants from 3 countries
Around 100 participants were gathered at the project’s kick-off on November 14th – 16th 2023 to get to know each other and network, and together look for opportunities to develop an even more sustainable tourism. AECT is a three-year project.
Museum Nord is one of the participating companies. We aim to contribute in developing new itineraries to increase the number of guests to our museums and to contribute to promote culture and museum experiences as important elements of a travel experience.
The program included a lecture with Anna Pollock (founder of Conscious Travel) on regenerative tourism, a lecture with Lennart Pittja from Sapmi Nature on how indigenous people’s knowledge can help develop tourism, a lecture with Director Trond Øverås, Nordnorsk Reiseliv on future-oriented, innovative models for understanding tomorrow’s guests and analysis of the current situation related to tourism in the area.
Among other things, the lectures highlighted the importance of both safeguarding culture and the way of life of daily life for ourselves, but also on how this can be valuable for developing good experiences and creating value for business. Tourism, if respectful and well practiced, can be an important tool for promoting the desire to live and business development, without being a threat to culture and nature.
Kiruna – a city in transition
We also got to participate in a guided tour of Kiruna and hear the spectacular story of how and why the city is being moved. Incredibly exciting! The city has been and is being moved due to enormous values in minerals in the ground. The mining operations are mainly managed by the international mining and mineral company LKAB. It is the extraction of iron ore and copper that is most important today. We were told that the beautiful church will be moved in 2025. In 2001, the church was designated by the inhabitants of Sweden as Sweden’s most beautiful building. The city’s new centre appears open, accessible and bright.
Kiruna in brief:
- Kiruna municipality: 23,000 inhabitants on an area as large as half the Netherlands with 16 million inhabitants.
- About 18,000 live in Kiruna city.
- Kiruna wants to grow to 25,000 people by 2030.
- Swedish, Sami and Torne Valley cultures live side by side.
- Kiruna has more than 400 registered clubs and associations and is Sweden’s “union-densest” municipality.
- The city has physically been relocated ? and is under relocation ? because of the enormous values that the minerals in the ground represent.
Arctic europe tourism cluster
Arctic Europe Tourism Cluster (AECT) is an Interreg Aurora project. Project period: 2023 ? 2026. Total budget: 4.1 million Euro. Project partners: Northern Norway Tourism Board, Finnish Lapland Tourism Board and Swedish Lapland Tourism Board. The project is part of the collaboration in Visit Arctic Europe. Borderless collaboration is the keyword for the participants in the project.