Towards Responsible Tourism project aims to promote tourism in South Savo region and develop communication about responsibility of tourism products to give the region a competitive advantage. The project also advances the networking of tourism entrepreneurs and tourism stakeholders with international responsible tourism operators.

Responsibility needs to be assessed and developed

For the future of tourism in the area, it is necessary to perceive what kind of ecological, economic and socio-cultural effects tourism can have. In order to minimize the negative impacts and maximize the benefits, indicators of impacts and commonly agreed guidelines about responsibility are needed.

Climate change is the largest current environmental risk of our planet and already causes economic, social and cultural problems. With the rapid growth of international tourism, the carbon footprint of tourism is on the rise. Tourism also has to take responsibility for the climate change more widely than just from a regional point of view.

 

Competitive advantage from responsible tourism

The emphasis on responsibility and sustainability in customer purchasing decisions is expected to increase. Companies can get most competitive advantage when they know how to communicate about responsibility from customer perspective. The more the responsibility is communicated, the more tourists will also pay attention to it. In addition to knowledge, the traveler must be offered the opportunity to engage in responsible behavior through an emotional level, through experience.

 

Co-operation towards responsible tourism

Decisions concerning the development of responsible tourism and responsibility communication are made in companies and destination management organizations. The project provides guidance and additional resources to the tourism industry's responsibility work. The project defines the indicators / criteria and recommendations of certificates for responsible tourism in South Savo region, as well as a plan for their implementation. To reduce the carbon footprint of tourism, the carbon footprint of tourism in South Savo region is calculated and a proposal for its monitoring system is produced.

The project aims to examine, test and develop the contents of digital marketing communications related to the responsibility of tourism companies and regional tourism portals. In addition, proposals are made to present responsibility in various distribution channels and media.

The project companies act as test laboratories in the project. With them company and product specific carbon footprints are calculated, as well as responsibility communication tested and developed. During the project, also the regional alignments concerning responsibility are evaluated. The project works in close cooperation also with other tourism companies and destination organizations in the Saimaa area and engages this way to the development of the Saimaa brand. 

Project partners will further the project goals for example by participating in various tourism development forums and by organizing open events for everyone. Workshops are organized advance the common guidelines and alignments, and a national seminar on responsible tourism will be organized in autumn 2018.

Networking with international actors of responsible tourism will be promoted, inter alia, through tour operator and media visits, and by organizing an open benchmarking trip to all interested parties in the autumn 2017 and 2018.

Project duration: 1.1.2017-31.12.2018

Project partners: South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences, University of Eastern Finland and Ruralia Institute of the University of Helsinki

Financier: Regional Council of South Savo and European Regional Development Fund

 

Further information

Eeva Koivula, Senior Lecturer, Project Manager, South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences 
tel. +358 40 772 3365, eeva.koivula (at) xamk.fi

Katja Pasanen, Expert, University of Eastern Finland (Responsibility Communication)

tel. +358 50 4390925, katja.pasanen (at) uef.fi

Hanna-Maija Väisänen, Expert, Ruralia Institute, University of Helsinki (Responsibility Communication)

tel. +358 44 300 1216, hanna-maija.vaisanen@helsinki.fi