Question: case study tourism in lapland the santa claus industry lapland...
Case study: tourism in Lapland, the Santa Claus industry Lapland is the northern-most province of Finland and is the least populated region of the country. Traditionally, the region has attracted two major types of tourists. Lapland provides wilderness and solitude sought by those escaping from routine who wish to find solace in the forest. Many of this type of tourist come from within Finland. The other main type of tourist is interested in the indigenous culture of the Sami (Lapp) people. The economy of Lapland has become increasingly dependent on tourism, with in excess of 6,000 people in the industry in the early 1990s. The Finnish Tourist Board expected the number employed to rise to between 9,500 and 10,000 by the early part of the twenty-first century. The Board was particularly keen to encourage more foreign tourists. Despite the success of encouraging more domestic tourism in the 1980s, when the volume of overseas tourists also appeared to be rising, numbers of both types of tourist then fell in the 1990s. However, overseas tourists still made up about 20 per cent of all tourists in Lapland in the early 1990s. The main overseas generating countries were Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy and France. Most tourists from these countries visited in summer. Many of them were in transit to the North Cape, the most northerly point of mainland Europe. Tourists from Britain and Japan came in winter to take part in winter sports, experience a ‘white winter’ or see reindeer. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Board declared that the natural and cultural attractions of Lapland were not sufficient to attract tourists in the desired numbers and decided that a new attraction had to be created. The idea of promoting Santa Claus as an attraction was viewed as appealing. The Santa Claus industry In 1985, the Governor of Lapland declared the entire state ‘Santa Claus Land’. However, there were also a number of rival claims for the home of Santa Claus at this time, in Alaska, Norway, Sweden and Greenland. In 1989, the Santa Claus Land Association was founded by 16 Finnish companies and this was connected to the Finnish Tourism Board. This association had as its sole role the marketing of the Santa Claus idea. The Association operated the Santa Claus Postal Service, coordinated Santa Claus visits overseas and promoted Santa Claus at various international gatherings. The Santa Claus Village The showpiece of Santa Claus Land is the Santa Claus Village. This is located exactly on the Arctic Circle a few kilometres north of the town of Rovaniemi, the capital of Lapland (see Photo 4.1). The site was chosen because prior to the establishment, tourists had stopped at the Arctic Circle sign to have their photograph taken. The village site is on the main north–south route through Lapland. The village was opened in 1985 and contains Santa’s workshop, where he may be visited at all times of the year, Santa’s Post Office, a reindeer enclosure, several restaurants and many gift and souvenir shops. The Santa Claus Village property is owned by a company based in Rovaniemi and individual businesses within the village are privately owned. Of particular significance within the village is the Santa Claus Postal Service. In the 1950s, letters written to Santa Claus by European schoolchildren were received in Helsinki. In 1976, the Santa Claus Postal Service was moved to Lapland when some 18,765 letters were received. The number of letters steadily grew. Visitors to the Santa Claus Village were encouraged to sign their names in Santa’s guest book and in 1990 over 550,000 letters were sent out at Christmas, each containing a free gift. By the early 1990s, letters were dispatched to 160 countries. Nearby, Rovaniemi has an international airport and can handle international jet aircraft. The most famous international flights were the regular flights by British Airways Concorde at Christmas between 1986 and 1992. Economic impacts In 1985, 225,000 visitors came to the village and the number of visitors increased rapidly from then until the late 1980s, reaching 277,000 in 1989. In the early 1990s, owing to the general global depression, visitor numbers fell. However, in the second part of the 1990s visitor numbers once again increased and reached over 300,000 in 1995. In 1996, there were 1.6 million international and domestic visitors to Lapland and 325,000 visited the village. In excess of 300,000 tourists visited the village each year in the period between 1995 and 2005, with 317,000 visitors in 2002 and 321,000 in 2004 (Finnish Tourist Board, 2007). In 2012 the number of international visitors to the village exceeded 500,000 (Santa Claus Village, 2014) and this accounted for one third of the total of 1.5 million overseas visitors to Lapland in 2012. The contribution of the village to revenue and employment can be seen in the following information. Visitors to Lapland increased by 22 per cent between 1986 and 1994 and foreign earnings were up by 29 per cent and this was attributed mainly to the Santa Claus Village. The village employed 290 people, which in 1990 was 7 per cent of total tourism employment in Lapland. Although this development is a totally artificial creation, it is an attempt to bring tourists to an area perceived as lacking many natural attractions. The village has been heralded as a great success in bringing tourists to a relatively remote and inhospitable location, and there has been little recorded environmental or social damage there.
1. What are potential obstacles with the tourism industry in Lapland, the Santa Clause Village?
2. What are some possible proactive courses of action can Lapland, the Santa Clause Village consider in regards to tourism?
3. You are a consultant hired by the Finnish Tourist Board, what would you recommend to the improve Lapland, the Santa Clause Village?
4. Identify (4) direct or indirect tourism factors that impact the economy of Lapland, the Santa Clause Village.
Describe the negative impact Lapland, the Santa Clause Village faced during the implementation phase of the development.