Tourism experts of the Barents member countries join forces to develop the tourism livelihood in the Barents Region

Today tourism as an industry plays an important role in the economy in all of the Barents countries and it keeps increasing every day. BART, the Public-Private Partnership in Barents Tourism project, aims at reinforcing the cross-border cooperation of the Barents region's tourism stakeholders in education, administrations, and the business sector. The tourism stakeholders come from the northern parts of Finland, Sweden and Norway and in Russia from the Murmansk and Arkhangelsk regions.

The BART kick-off took place a bright sunny day in March in Rovaniemi when about 40 people met at the Lapland Institute for Tourism Research and Education. It is a unique knowledge community bringing together all educational levels, with innovative research and development activities in the field of tourism.

“The atmosphere among the seminar participants is great. You can feel the enthusiasm and commitment of all the partners involved. We are very pleased to be able to cooperate closely with the Joint Working Group on Tourism”,  says Mari Vähäkuopus, the project manager of BART project.

Each region gave a presentation of the current state of tourism development and economic facts and figures of tourism in their region. Through these presentations all participants received an overview of tourism strategies and the most important ongoing projects in each region.

What the Barents Region has in common are the significant seasonal changes and rather low overall utilization rates in tourism business. Altogether, it was pointed out, that when viewing the business units and the amount of employees, the tourism business in Barents region has a significant role globally. Also, the Barents Region as a destination has global growth potential! The regional tourism development is framed by strategies on multiple levels and according to the seminar presentations the strategic planning has reached a good level. The public sector has quite an active role and many of the development challenges are met by project-based actions.

Some common guidelines and conclusions could be made based on the seminar. Firstly, the cooperation has a good base to build on, since we share rather similar views on the tourism industry. The starting point of tourism entrepreneurship differs between regions, but the development of tourism entrepreneurship is similar. Secondly, the versatile types of entrepreneurship can be found in each region: we have innovative entrepreneurs driven by both growth-orientation and life-style. Common goals were also found: Internationalization of tourism and enhancing technological development and communication networks. Increasing the utilization of research and development knowledge is a challenge that BART project activities can now take up to by making the research results more reader friendly and ready to use for entrepreneurs point of view.

Facts about BART – Public- Private Partnership in Barents Tourism Project:

Overall objective: to contribute on improving the development of tourism industry in the Barents region.
Specific objective: creation and initiation of development mechanisms in long term public-private partnership for the tourism industry on all stakeholders’ levels

The project is funded by the Kolartic ENPI CBC programme 2007-2013, economic and social development. Implementation period is two years.
Total budget is 922 000 €. The Joint Managing Authority of the programme is the Regional Council of Lapland.

Lead Partner: Rovaniemi University of Applied Sciences
Partners in Finland: University of Lapland, The Regional Council of Lapland.

Partners in Russia:
Murmansk Region: Murmansk State Humanities University, Murmansk State Technical University, Ministry of Economic Development of Murmansk Region, Monchegorsk Town Authorities,
Arkhangelsk Region:
Ministry of Youth Affairs, Sport and Tourism of Arkhangelsk Region, Northern Arctic Federal University and Pomor State University
In Sweden: Luleå University of Technology
In Norway: Barents Institute

For more information
Project Manager Mari Vähäkuopus,, Mobile +358 20 798 5790
Project Coordinator Sari Sivonen, , Mobile +358 20 798 5719

Project website