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A LABEL OF SUSTAINABLE ARCTIC TOURISM


SUSTAINABLE TOURISM LABELLING

Why do we need a label for tourism activities in the Arctic? Tourism is one of the largest industries in the world, and it is moving millions of people each year. And as people travel more, they become more demanding and experienced in their choice of vacation and operator. At the same time, more and more tourism businesses are trying to market their products to the customers, who are overwhelmed by the options they have. This is why in recent years, certifications and labels have developed around the world: to certify the bearer of a certain achievement, and to tell the customer about it. This is also true for the tourism industry, and although there are many labels in the market today, only few of them are well-known and successful. Examples are the Australian nature- and ecotourism certification, and increasingly also the Swedish Nature’s Best.

WHAT IS A SUSTAINABLE ARCTIC TOURISM LABEL?

The SMART- project promotes the creation of an international, arctic –specific label that will be common for the whole region. It would have a common framework and comparable criteria, yet allowing for national adaptations in each participating country. Currently, there is no such label available that would recognize the special features of the Arctic regions.

The special traits of the natural environment, geography, indigenous and northern cultures and economies that are prominent for the region need to be taken into account in a common sustainable tourism label.

The reasons for joining and possible benefits obtained from an arctic-wide label can vary and different stakeholders may have different interests, for example marketing/having a better access to market, having more reliable business operations and showing commitment to important issues such as the community, environment, quality and safety.

The consumers’ interests are about quality in general and how to find the quality tourism products. Conservation organisations want to make sure that the environment is not harmed through tourism, and that activities interpret nature and support conservation efforts. Other benefits can include better visibility and marketing of arctic tourism, international networking and experience exchange with other arctic operators as well as cost savings, e.g. through better efficiency.

The companies also receive training opportunities that help them on the path towards more sustainability. The SMART- project has created a training package for trainers, who will use it in working with companies in each region. Training can be taken separately, but it also supports and prepares businesses for the participation in the arctic tourism label.

With the help of the Swedish Ecotourism Society, the owner of Nature’s Best, SMART - partners will discuss and test the feasibility and interest for a Nature’s Best -based label in their countries. The result of this consultation and test period will determine the further steps. Important marketing decisions such as name and logo for the label will be discussed according to the results of the consultation process.

 


 

   

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