It been a busy week working with clients in Sweden, Finland and Norway. Late last week I was down at Wanås Estate in northern Skåne exploring the ways they could realize their dreams of hosting overnight visitors on the estate. This week started with a brain storming session on how the Trøndelag based Wild Norway project could move forward, build capacity and become sustainable for the long term. Wednesday and Thursday I was up in Kiruna in Swedish Lapland discussing the region’s longer term development goals, aims and aspirations linked to its sustainable destination project. On Monday I’m flying to Helsinki and driving east to give a seminar on how SE Finland could develop and strategically plan as a nature based tourism destination.
Throughout Scandinavia I’m seeing a desire to learn more about how destinations can be sustainably developed and at the same time improve destination management, branding and marketing. This means that destinations need to think about moving away from simply focusing on helping individual entrepreneurs and SME’s and looking at a holistic sustainable destination model where entrepreneur training and mentoring are integrated into a much wider methodology for elevating the whole destination for the long term. It’s an exciting period and I’m looking forward to the challenge of not only helping destinations use GSTC-D v.1 and ETIS Criteria and Indicators to understand where they are now but to help them take responsibility for making key choices so that the right decisions are made locally for their unique destination. By telling their unique and sustainable destination story destinations will be able to stand out from the crowd and have a better chance of delivering the overall quality visitors desire and the yield that will best benefit the host stakeholders.