The project ‘Culturally Sensitive Tourism in the Arctic’ – ARCTISEN – develops a support system for start-ups and existing small and medium-sized enterprises offering innovative tourism products and services. Expanding tourist interest in the Arctic brings unforeseen opportunities to maintain local livelihoods and lifestyles. The project partners in Finland, Sweden, Norway, Canada and Denmark/Greenland highlight the pressing demand for new tourism products and services that draw on the rich natural and cultural resources of the region. Simultaneously, limited knowledge of indigenous and other local cultures in Northern communities calls for more open and sensitive dialogue among different tourism actors.
The project introduces cultural sensitivity as a core value that guides the project activities from benchmarking to test visits, workshops to online courses. These activities will help tourism start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises to turn their place-based opportunities into economically viable tourism businesses. The novelty of ARCTISEN lies in enabling and supporting entrepreneurs to craft culturally sensitive tourism products in close cooperation with a wide range of tourism practitioners and scholars across the programme area. Through transnational tourism cluster, the project contributes to a more positive business climate for tourism companies – and to making the participating regions more economically robust and versatile in general.