European Tour Operators Visit the Kvarken Region

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The Kvarken Destinations project, together with Visit Finland, had the pleasure of hosting a familiarization trip in mid-September. The trip’s purpose was to exhibit and increase knowledge of the things we have to offer in our unique region that covers two countries. The group consisted of German, Italian and British tour operators.

– We received once again praise for this cooperation. The concept of two countries during one trip interests people, and the tour operators see potential in organizing a tour via our region, tells Ms Marianne Sjöström, Project Leader at the Kvarken Council.

All of the companies participating in the project had the chance to meet the tour operators during the trip. Among others, Café Bryggan attended a workshop in Vaasa, Finland, and Forsknäckarna showcased its products in a workshop in Umeå, Sweden.

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One of the participants who was pleased with the workshop was Ms Linda Boberg-Santala from Café Bryggan, which offers both accommodation and a calm seaside environment with various activities:
– It was interesting and rewarding. I came here to learn and to test which products might interest the tour operators. This event as well as training from Nordic Marketing helps us to adjust our activities as needed and to refine our products. Based on today’s experience, my next step is to gather photos and other information and e-mail the persons I met.

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The Swedish Ekorrsele-based Forsknäckarna had the chance to meet tour operators in Umeå. The company offers simple and inspiring accommodation, food and activities – everything from rafting for daredevils and children alike to ice climbing, snowmobile safaris and saunas. Mr Patrik Edin, one of the owners of Forsknäckarna, was happy to meet with the tour operators:
– You never know what captures people’s interest. Sometimes it feels like you’ve failed to sell the idea, and then suddenly you have a big booking. It’s important to be out there and tell about the different experiences we offer.

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One of the guests, Ms Patricia Lawitschka from Skandinavientrips, summed up the trip and found a surprise amongst all the activities:
– - It was a stroke of luck that it was raining when we visited Jakobstad, because the backup plan proved to be a fantastic place. I’d very much like to revisit Nanoq, because I’d like to explore the museum and its surroundings in more detail. It was truly a different and exotic place.
– Hiking in the High Coast also sounds wonderful, and we were served delicious food in Umeå.

The tour operators visited Isokyrö, Kokkola, Jakobstad, Vaasa and the Kvarken Archipelago, Umeå and the High Coast. They also received a product manual that was drafted earlier in the project and that will be renewed in connection to training organized by Nordic Marketing. Other similar trips with varying tour destinations will be arranged during the project duration.

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The Destination Kvarken project (marketing name Kvarken Destinations) will help exportable small and medium enterprises with focus on hospitality industry to reach out to new and bigger markets for more growth and competitiveness. The purpose is to increase the amount of visitors in our destination covered by the following destination management organizations’ area of operation: Visit Vaasa, Visit Umeå, the High Coast of Sweden, South Ostrobothnia Tourist Service, Visit Kokkola, Visit Jakobstad region and Visit Kristinestad.

By developing concepts for shared and intensified marketing activities we aim to increase the amount of tour operators who include the area in their supply. Further, we plan to arouse media interest resulting in increasing visibility for our destination. The project also focus on digitalization, research and development regarding tourism industry in the region.



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