How can culture become more important in tourism?

06 June 2024

This was the central area of work in session number 2 in the Arctic Europe Tourism Cluster network. Culture is so many things. Almost no matter what kind of “branch” of culture we are talking about, it is usually of great interest to travelers in our area. How can cultural institutions reap from the tourism industry – and vice versa?

Common goal – joint effort

More than 100 tourism companies from Sweden, Norway and Finland are participating in the work of developing companies, destinations and regions to become better destinations. Common to all of us is the desire to develop tourism into a year-round industry that creates good value for both suppliers, local communities and guests. We consider networking to be an important tool for achieving our goals. We can learn from and about each other, explore common opportunities and work together towards common goals.

Through the project and the network AETC (Arctic European Tourism Cluster), Museum Nord wants to both contribute to good development for everyone involved in the project, but also, naturally, to reap good results itself. There are large differences between the regions in the countries, purely seasonally, in relation to the number of visitors. In the summer, when it is “full speed” in Museum Nord’s region, it is almost completely quiet in Levi, Finland. Levi has more than 25,000 beds that are full in the winter – and empty in the summer. In order to create year-round jobs, a more stable income and make better use of capacity, work is now being done to bring tourists to Levi also in the summer.

Large amounts of snow are saved under an insulating cover, in order to be used for an early start to the season. The photos were taken at about 11 pm in the evening, in an incredibly beautiful summer weather.

Other places also have innovative, successful approaches to new seasons and activities. In Yllas you can experience nature by bike – all year round. At Lake Tuusula, concerts are held that are enjoyed from boats on the water (picture below).

Culture as a tool And the intrinsic value of culture

Common to all three countries is that we want to put a greater spotlight on culture in all forms. By marketing existing cultural offerings and developing new offerings that suit the region and the target groups, the goal is to increase the time a guest spends in the region. We also want to reach new target groups.

At this network gathering, we have discussed, heard and learned about culture. Culture is “everything”: music, art, cultural history, buildings, way of life, food – and more. How can we incorporate this as part of the offer for a guest? And what is most interesting for which target group?

Dolores Semeraro from Experimental Travel encouraged us to try to understand the traveler’s needs and desires. We also got to hear about interesting new products in the area, and also experience joik. In Levi we also visited an exhibition about Sami life: “Samiland”.

To shed light on opportunities and challenges, we heard, among other things, interesting presentations about market trends and figures from tour operators. These tour operators are well known in our region and already have many customers traveling here. We received tips and feedback on how, in their view, we can build on the resources we have to meet the needs of the markets. We also heard from “experts” related to various topics in culture, e.g. food. Among these was our own Hege, who gave a presentation about Museum Nord’s work to create good museum experiences for a large number of guests throughout the year. Hege was also the leader of one of the workshops on culture and product development.

Through product customization, customer understanding, increased visibility, sales and marketing work – we can get closer to the goal of making culture even more accessible and interesting for guests. The cultural offerings can then also become an even stronger factor in creating year-round offerings for the benefit of both guests, employees and residents.

Tour operators provided us with valuable market insights through presentations and panel discussions. Jan Badur from Nordic Marketing presented useful facts with us. Hege shared some of Museum Nord’s success criteria in relation to tourism and product development.

NETWORKING as a tool

By meeting others, we establish networks that are important and useful to us for further work. We get to know more people who have the same challenges as us, or who have been more successful, or who want to learn from our experiences. The network is mutually beneficial for all parties.

Getting to know others who experience same challenges, good solutions and different insights than yourself can be very valuable.

NEXT: Sales workshop in September

We are already looking forward to the next gathering, which will take place in Harstad in September. Then we will meet a number of tour operators to present our museum offerings to them.

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