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Exploring Sustainable Horizons: TOURBO's Arctic Adventure

Published 7th May 2024
 

Embracing Sustainability: Insights from TOURBO’s Arctic Workshop


Recently, the chilly winds of Finnish Lapland in Rovaniemi embraced a diverse group of partners and stakeholders from eight regions, including our own Donegal County Council, for a pivotal gathering. This wasn't just any meeting, but a strategic workshop under the expansive umbrella of the Interreg Europe TOURBO Project, which Donegal is proud to be a part of.

The focus of this workshop? Nothing less than shaping the future of tourism through sustainability and digitalisation, with a keen eye on the challenges and models that our regions face, particularly in supporting micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

As someone deeply rooted in Donegal's vibrant community, it was exhilarating to see representatives from Donegal Airport and our Local Enterprise Office diving into these discussions with enthusiasm. The Arctic setting, with its pristine landscapes and the pioneering spirit of its people, added an extra layer of inspiration to our mission.

The workshop kicked off with insights from key Lapland tourism stakeholders and Sustainable Travel Finland. These discussions set the stage for a hands-on session about refining policy instruments that could drive positive change across our regions.

Day one ended with an introduction to the Arctic Circle and a visit to the Arctic TreeHouse Hotel, where we learned about their sustainable practices—a perfect example of what we aim to encourage across our regions.

The following day, the group ventured 130 km north to the Pyhä-Luosto area, where local tourism businesses showcased their sustainability efforts. It was a learning expedition that saw us exploring everything from reindeer husbandry to the nuanced integration of traditional Lappish culture into sustainable tourist experiences.

The workshop discussions here revolved around the economic impacts of these sustainability practices and culminated in a revealing session on MSME support in sustainability, with examples from both Finland and Ireland.
Members of our team from Donegal Tourism Mary Fowley-Daly and Margaret Sweeney who recently attended an interregional workshop and study visit in Lapland, Finland

On our final day, while some partners huddled for a steering group meeting, others continued engaging with local businesses to discuss sustainable practices in depth. It was a fulfilling wrap-up to a series of deeply productive dialogues.

As TOURBO marches forward, it remains committed to identifying and promoting best practices that bolster the resilience of the tourism industry through sustainability and digitalization. With 10 good practices already identified and shared on our project website, we are on track to making significant contributions to the sector, despite the recent upheavals caused by global crises.

This gathering in Lapland was not just about formal meetings; it was a reaffirmation of our shared commitment to a sustainable future, the kind that respects both our heritage and our environment. It's a challenging journey, but as we've learned, one that's filled with shared insights and the collective wisdom of diverse regions.

Stay tuned as we continue to navigate this promising path, inspired by the pioneering spirit of the Arctic and driven by the shared goal of a resilient, sustainable tourism industry.
 

Website: www.interregeurope.eu/tourbo 

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