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Tampere University of Applied Sciences leads development work
Well-being tourism to attract people to the Tampere Region

A development project of Tampere University of Applied Sciences has created major impetus for the development of the northern Tampere Region as a well-being tourism destination, even internationally. Local enterprises offering nature and culture services, Metsähallitus (a state enterprise administering state-owned land and water areas) and experts in tourism and well-being at Tampere University of Applied Sciences have arrived at a common vision to make well-being tourism a major occupation in the area.

Helvetinkolu Erkki Kelloniemi in the Seitseminen National Park.
Erkki Kelloniemi (right), project manager at Tampere University of Applied Sciences describes the song ritual of a pair of diver birds in Soljanen March in the Seitseminen National Park.
High resolution image (633 Kb)
Photo: Seppo Pajari

Helvetinkolu in Helvetinjärvi National Park.
High resolution image (3 789 Kb)
Photo: Seppo Pajari

According to this vision the northern Tampere Region is to become a nationally and indeed internationally interesting well-being tourism destination within the next few years. There will be nature and culture services easily available providing all kinds of experiences around the centres which already attract tourists. The services offered to tourists correspond to demand and serve to strengthen the local economy.

The northern Tampere Region, with its many waterways and forests can be made into a tourism destination with respect for Nature, competitive prices and with easy access by public means even from abroad. In the best case this will generate unique wilderness and culture experiences and also good physical and mental feelings.

During the business environment development project on Seitseminen-Helvetinjärvi tourism area 2009-2010 (SYTYKE) of Tampere University of Applied Sciences (TAMK) the enterprise network Vihreä Sydän (Green Heart) was set up in the town of Ylöjärvi. Here some 20 SMEs in tourism, handicrafts and culture endeavour to exploit networking and product development to create models to be utilized in developing even internationally sustainable nature and well-being tourism in the northern Tampere Region.

The SYTYKE Project developed the entrepreneurial operating environment of the extensive tourism area surrounding the national parks of Seitseminen and Helvetinjärvi.  Among other things the Project included a benchmarking expedition to the Ruka-Kuusamo area, after which local service enterprises got together with GoTampere tourism agency and compiled a week’s activity programme open to all.

Underpinning the development project was Metsähallitus’s Seitseminen-Helvetinjärvi Nature Tourism Plan Project 2007-2008, on the basis of which Metsähallitus has begun to actively develop methods for supporting nature tourism with tourism actors in the northern Tampere Region – always maintaining nature values in the national parks and on state-owned land.

The SYTYKE Project was part of the TAMK research and development work, which was funded by the town administrations of Ikaalinen and Ylöjärvi, Development Association of the Upper Tampere Region, Pirkanmaan ammattikorkeakoulu Ltd and the Council of Tampere Region. Some of the work was accomplished in the form of students’ theses.  The Demola Project injected further innovativeness into the work, refining the SYTYKE Project idea of a permanent co-operation group for well-being tourism.

A well-being tourism development centre in the Tampere Region

The Tampere Region is Finland’s second most important tourism area.  For example, it is the site of the first theme environment, the Power Forest (in Finnish Voimametsä) in Ikaalinen promoting the salutary effects of the forest.  However, the Tampere Region lacks basic research in the field of tourism, and the findings might well serve to boost the development of well-being tourism in the region.

In order to further develop tourism in the region a coordination project for building outdoor trails has been started; partly exceeding the regional boundaries this involves no less than 650 kilometres of multi-purpose trails, including shelters, places for open fires and bridges.

To promote tourism TAMK is preparing a project together with the universities of applied sciences of Jyväskylä and Vaasa and the Ruralia Institute of the University of Helsinki in order to develop a business model of sustainable tourism.

The most significant new target set in the SYTYKE Project was to define and implement a development centre for well-being tourism in the region. This was to clarify the roles of actors in well-being tourism in the region, to support the further development of well-being tourism business based on nature and local culture experiences and the research and development work in the field of tourism.

In order to stimulate international interest the centre was to engage in co-operation with the Finnish Tourist Board (MEK).  MEK’s latest themes for marketing Finnish tourism are Silence, please – nature and sauna etc., Cultural Beat – healthfoods and design etc. and Wild and Free – fishing and safaris etc.

The planned well-being tourism in the Tampere Region also involves health tourism – services for health and the care of illness; to support these the first patients’ hotel is to be built in Tampere for patients and their relatives.

In a recent funding application TAMK proposed a project to the founding of a development centre for regional well-being tourism.  Those involved in its preparation included Tredea Oy, the town of Ikaalinen, Development Association of the Upper Tampere Region, Metsähallitus, numerous enterprises and Finn-Medi Research Ltd.  The first three of these have already decided to participate in the funding.

The centre would take responsibility for user and demand centred product, service and innovation development in well-being tourism.  TAMK has already been established as the party responsible in the development of tourism business environments in the Tampere Region strategy for experience economy 2010-2012.

More information:

Seitsemisen ja Helvetinjärven luontomatkailun suunnitelma. Metsähallitus, 2010. ISSN 1796-2943. ISBN (pdf-tiedosto: 978-952-446-615-8

Tampere University of Applied Sciences
Erkki Kelloniemi, Project Manager
Tel. +358 50 379 3623
Tuula Peltonen, Park Superintendent
Tel. +358 20 564 5268
Hiking Travel, Hit Ky
Liisa Tyllilä, Nature Tourism Entrepreneur
Tel. +358 400 636 057
Finn-Medi Research Ltd
Matti Eskola, CEO
Tel. +358 40 557 5355

Feel free to use all news. Photographs copyright Kalle Heiska.
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