Utsjoki

Second Living Lab workshop in Utsjoki

SmartCulTour project partner ULAP held the second hybrid workshop on 21 April 2021 in their Utsjoki living lab with the local stakeholders to discuss and generate ideas for developing sustainable cultural tourism in Utsjoki.

The workshop started with a warm-up activity in which the participants got to know each other through bodily performance to share a place that was meaningful to them. SmartCulTour partner CIHEAM Zaragoza was invited to participate in the workshop to present Huesca as a living lab with similar needs and challenges around rural tourism destinations and to share their local tourism initiatives. The workshop focused on discussing how sustainable cultural tourism could contribute to the development of Utsjoki and generating ideas to develop sustainable cultural tourism in Utsjoki. Service design and art-based tools and methods were used to engage the workshop participants in exploring the potential of cultural tourism in Utsjoki. Participants collected and shared photos of local places where they deemed unique. Using a storytelling template, the participants came up with ideas for further developing the unique local places into culturally interesting places with stories and senses. The workshop closed with participants planning the next steps for the next workshop.

Lapland Living Lab inception meeting

The inception meeting of the Lapland Living Lab was held on 12 February in Holiday Village Valle in Utsjoki with 8 on-site participants and 4 online participants. The meeting started with an introduction to the SmartCulTour project. Followed by this, UNESCO gave a presentation about their role in the project, which is to provide their own expertise in the development of sustainable cultural tourism to fit local needs in Utsjoki and other living labs of the project.

The participants wished to hear from UNESCO about how they have developed sustainable cultural tourism in the rest of the world, for example in tourism companies in other countries. These will be discussed in the future meetings.

Taking a participatory approach, we engaged the participants in discussing the development of sustainable cultural tourism using a number of design activities. A SWOT matrix was used to present the identified strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the tourism development in the Utsjoki living lab. We were able to identify the main needs for developing cultural tourism in Utsjoki.

The participants shared some existing good practices around the development of sustainable cultural tourism. A tree tool was used to evoke creative thinking on the opportunities and imagination of sustainable cultural tourism for the future of Utsjoki.

The participants saw the need to develop cultural tourism in Utsjoki, as it would bring new content to the municipality’s tourism and would not be as seasonal as nature-based tourism. We were able to discover the main needs and problems, for example, tourists don’t have enough information about existing services in Utsjoki, how to act in natural surroundings, how to dress appropriately, etc. The participants highlighted that one of the possible solutions would be an App that can gather all the necessary information about Utsjoki in the same place. That would make it easier for tourists to access the information.

The municipality of Utsjoki to launch EU funded H2020 Sustainable Cultural Tourism Living Lab on 12th February 2021

On 12th February 2021, the municipality of Utsjoki will launch a European Living Lab on Sustainable Cultural Tourism. The Utsjoki Living Lab (LL) will be one of six Living Labs across the Europe Union funded by the H2020 research programme – SmartCulTour. A number of issues of concern to the local cultural tourism community will be discussed during this first meeting, including the impact of COVID-19 on the local cultural and tourism industry and how to re-build the local tourism economy over the coming years.
Each of the six Living Labs have been chosen owing to their geographical relevance and to represent a variety of different forms of sustainable tourism. During the project, each LL will implement, test and evaluate novel ways of managing sustainable cultural tourism development through experiments, serious games, arts-based methods, service or social design techniques to enhance collaboration between the cultural sector and the tourism industry, in order to facilitate a process of capacity building. The other five SmartCulTour Living Labs are located in Rotterdam, Scheldeland in Flanders-Belgium, Utsjoki in Lapland-Finland, Huesca in Spain, Split in Croatia and Vicenza in Italy.
To be held hybridly by the University of Lapland, the LL of Utsjoki will bring together over Utsjoki local (and national) experts in sustainable tourism, regional development and culture.


For further information:
Please contact: Hong, Li, hong.li@ulapland.fi, +358444744335.
SmartCulTour Living Labs: http://www.smartcultour.eu/living-labs/
H2020 SmartCulTour project: http://www.smartcultour.eu/
SmartCulTour Brochure: http://www.smartcultour.eu/brochure/