MERVA – From sea to fells: promoting responsible networking of small tourism operators
University of Oulu
The MERVA project increases the cooperation and networking of small tourism companies in remote, sparsely populated areas, and promotes the learning of responsible operating methods and best practices. The project increases the regional cooperation of tourism companies and industry local players, which creates a basis for networking, learning best practices from others, and adopting common ways of working that promote responsibility. The project is implemented in cooperation between the University of Oulu Kerttu Saalasti Institute and Kajaani University of Applied Sciences. Geographically, the project targets from the Bothnian Bay to the danger areas of Eastern Finland and to small rural tourism companies, which are primarily located in sparsely populated areas. The target companies are located outside the tourist centers, but are potential future tourist destinations from the point of view of nature tourism.
The goal of the project is to promote the competitiveness of small tourism companies in sparsely populated rural areas by increasing:
- cooperation of tourism operators, which enables providing of responsible service packages
- knowledge of the aspects of responsibility in practical tourism services and competence in responsibility communication
- information on best practices
In the project, tourism operators' "guild activities" are launched, where expert knowledge is shared, entrepreneurs and other operators meet, and experiences and best practices are shared. Target groups are offered concrete information about the meaning and evaluation of responsibility with the help of experts, business examples and workshops. In addition, the project organizes visits and excursions familiarization trips that promote domestic and international cooperation, especially with Northern Sweden. The aim of the measures is to increase knowledge about tourism companies in different regions and their service concepts. The experiences and best practices gathered in the project will be made available to everyone.
The target group of the project is 1) micro tourism companies in sparsely populated rural areas, i.e. less than 10 people 2) other players in the tourism industry, such as tourism associations, project participants and researchers 3) regional business development organizations 4) students in the tourism industry.
Financed by: Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry /Lapland Center for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment